Many homosexual men wish to play a key role in family life. The desire to be a father is extremely strong, and yet for many men it seems bewildering and confusing. I have tried in this blog to simplify the different options for gay men who want to be fathers down so that it is all laid out in front of them. No one option is right for every one. It is up to every individual to decide what is best for them.
There are currently about 4,000 children waiting to be adopted within the UK. Gay men, either individually, or in couples are allowed to adopt children in the UK (assuming they meet the incredibly strict standards that the adoption process requires). Being homosexual is neither a hindrance nor an asset to adopting a child. A good place to start would be to choose an adoption agency and proceed from there (Look for an agency with supportive or useful information on their web-site). Remember only 2% of children adopted in the UK are under 1. You have to think hard if this is the route is for you as it is a tough experience by anyone’s standards.
Gay men (again either as individuals or couples) can adopt in England, Scotland or Wales. Again, you want to choose a foster agency and decide what type of care you feel best suits you (Emergency, Short-term, long-term, permanent, remand, kinship). If you are interested in fostering LGB children specifically see The Albert Kennedy Trust.
There are two types of surrogacy available (traditional and gestational).
Traditional surrogacy is when the child is genetically related to the mother. She can become pregnant through self-insemination or through using the sperm of one of the intended parents.
Gestational surrogacy is when the embryo is created in a clinic normally using the sperm of one of the intended parents and is then implanted into the surrogate mother. Here you have greater control over the child’s genetic material as you can choose the egg that is used.
It is important to remember however it is illegal for any individual or organisation to charge to help you find a surrogate. It is also illegal for you to advertise that you are looking for a surrogate. If you are considering this route it essential that you get specialist legal advice.
This is when two people choose to conceive a child together and raise it together. It is common in this situation for the child to have (and live with) more than two “parents”. In the UK however, it is legally impossible to have more than 2 legal parents.
If you are considering this route however, the biggest obstacle is the plethora of practical issues such as who has parental responsibility, who is responsible for discipline and how much time will you get to spend with the child etc.
This is a great way of allowing single women, lesbians and infertile couples the chance to have children. Every year thousands of women are unable to have children because of a shortage of sperm donors.
Things to remember…when the kid turns 18 they can request your contact details. Unlike in films (normally US based) there is no payment for sperm donation (just expenses). As a sperm donor, you are not legally recognised as the child’s legal parent.
It can however be a rewarding altruistic act that many gay men will choose to consider.
For more information see:
Most of the above information was taken from the guide for gay dads which can be found here