If you’re considering surrogacy, you’re likely pretty confident that you will be the best parents possible, no matter your sexual orientation. But, while you’re confident in who you are and what makes you unique, you may also wonder, “How does gay parenting affect the child involved?”
You can be reassured in knowing that there are no detrimental effects on children raised by same-sex parents because of their parents’ sexual orientation. In many surrogacy cases, the challenges of LGBT parenting are actually more related to the surrogacy process itself, not the fact that a child has two parents of the same sex.
No matter what your child’s birth story or your sexual orientation, parenthood can be a challenge in and of itself. While no one is 100 percent ready to be a parent for the first time, being aware of the potential challenges ahead will help you provide a safe, stable home where your child feels loved and supported.
What to Know About LGBT Parenting
Unfortunately, there are still many misconceptions about LGBT parenting in the world — mainly, that it’s harmful to children. However, there are no studies that show gay parenting is in any way damaging to children as they grow up. Instead, multiple studies actually show that there is no difference between homosexual parenting and heterosexual parenting at all; as long as parents are supportive and loving, a child will grow up with the same advantages and opportunities for a successful life.
In some cases, gay couples raising a kid are actually more prepared than opposite-sex couples. Because gay and lesbian parents must go through deliberate steps to have children (unlike opposite-sex couples, who may become pregnant unexpectedly), LGBT individuals usually intensely research what their same-sex parenting responsibilities will be and what to expect — and desire a child so much that they’re willing to do everything possible to bring one home.
While there are unfortunately still organizations that will discriminate against gay couples raising children (whether through surrogacy or an adoption process), the majority of professionals have recognized that it doesn’t matter what a parent’s sexual orientation is — just how well they can be a parent for a child.
The Potential Challenges of Being a Gay Parent
While there are no negative effects on children of same-sex couples, there are some unique circumstances that you’ll need to prepare for when you decide to become parents. Society’s view of same-sex parent families is growing ever more progressive, but that doesn’t always mean that your family makeup will be perceived as “normal” by others. Your child may have questions and/or receive questions from their peers about your relationship. It’s important that you and your child address these positively and through an open, honest conversation.
From the moment you bring your child home, normalize your sexual orientation. Show them movies and read them books about same-sex parents like you. Emphasize that just because you may not look quite like your child’s friends’ parents doesn’t mean that you don’t love your child the same as any other parent would. After all, what’s important is love and support — not the way a family looks.
While your child will easily accept your family makeup (after all, it will be all they’ve ever known), you need to be prepared for the possibility that they may be teased by classmates. Children of same-sex parents should know how to address bullying situations and how to remain strong in the face of prejudice and discrimination. Usually, as long as they are confident in their family and their parents’ love, children raised by homosexual parents will be proud of what makes their family unique.
What to Know About Raising a Child Born from Surrogacy
In addition to the challenges that may come with LGBT parenting, children of gay and lesbian parents who were born via surrogacy will have other things to prepare for — specifically, preserving the identity of a child born via surrogacy and an egg or sperm donation. Children of same-sex parents who are born via surrogacy should be comfortable and proud of their surrogacy and birth story throughout life. This means, like having gay parents, their surrogacy story should be an open topic of discussion from the moment you bring them home.
As parents of a surrogacy-born child, you will need to normalize your child’s birth story from an early age. Be age-appropriate, and prepare them with answers for questions they may receive from curious friends and peers. Emphasize that you wanted them so badly that a kind woman helped bring them into the world by carrying them for you. While it is a different way than many of their friends may have been born, it’s a mark of how special they are.
Your child will likely be born of a donor egg or sperm, which is another important part of their surrogacy journey. This is why we recommend an identified donor as you’re going through your surrogacy process; information about their biological mother or father will play a key role as your child develops their identity, not only as a child born via surrogacy, but also as a child being raised by gay parents.
Our surrogacy specialists have worked with many surrogacy professionals to learn about how to best protect a child’s identity if they’re born via surrogacy — and we’re happy to pass that information on to you. You can call us with any questions about the implications of raising a child born from surrogacy at 1-800-875-2229.
In addition, we can also help you prepare for raising children as an LGBT individual and what gay parenthood may mean for your family. Our sister company, American Adoptions, has worked with LGBT couples for years, and we are prepared to share the knowledge we’ve learned about same-sex parenting with intended parents like yourself. We fully support all LGBT people who wish to have a child via surrogacy, and we’re ready to help you start your surrogacy process whenever you’re ready.