More Gay Men Choose Surrogacy to Have Children

Another 20,000 children are adopted each year from overseas, but many countries — like China — won't allow gay couples to be parents. And only about 15,000 infants are available for adoption in the U.S. each year, not counting foster children.

"Birth parents choose the new parents, and so usually they do not knowingly choose a gay couple," Pertman said. "Most heterosexual couples are not necessarily homophobic, but if they go with the odds, they wait a long time."

Therefore, the largest number of children available is through foster care — about 50,000, most of whom are older. "These children desperately need homes," Pertman said. "When gay men adopt them, they expand resources for these children, and you have a solution that serves everyone."

But many gay men, like lesbians and some single women, want a biological connection to their child.

It wasn't until the last decade that gay men have found not only the cultural acceptance of gay parenthood, but the availability of gay community centers and support networks.

When the Los Angeles-based Pop Luck Club started in 1998, it had only nine members. Today, the group has 260 families, 45 percent of whom have adopted and 24 percent who underwent gestational surrogacy.

Another 20 percent of the couples have foster children who were later adopted, and about 8 percent share parenting with a lesbian couple or from a former heterosexual marriage.

"Oh my god have we grown," said board member Mark Brown, a 52-year-old father of an adopted girl and boy. "We provide camaraderie and support, a place to bring your children and see families that look like you, so the children know we are part of the norm."

The club provides a mentoring program for couples thinking of having children, provides a news chat group and holds a monthly "pot luck" dinner for families.

The gay parenting culture has so quickly changed that at the last gay march in Washington, D.C., observers marveled at all the play pens and day care options available on the mall. Many of the same-sex parents were men.

$150,000 a Year for 'Journey'

Today, men with the financial means — surrogate births run up to $150,000 a year for a two-year process — can access new technologies that allow them to have babies.

"As people realize it is possible, more are pursuing it worldwide," said Gail Taylor, co-founder of Growing Generations, which provided the first surrogacy program for men in 1994. "People like the opportunity to be involved in the process from start to finish. They are so happy they can participate in the decisions."

Growing Generations receives thousands of calls each year from 20 countries and takes on 250 to 300 clients. About 98 percent of the couples use in vitro fertilization with a donor. The average couple can expect a pregnancy in two attempts; about 60 percent are "pregnant" on the first embryo.

If the couple wants more than one child, partners alternate whose sperm will be used with a donor egg. Others choose to mix their sperm and leave the rest to nature.

Growing Generations CEO Stuart Miller, 42, and his 33-year-old partner helped deliver their son, Quentin, just three weeks ago.

"It's incredible to go through the process of our own pregnancy," said Stuart. "It has been so special to have a relationship with the surrogate and to be there to hold her legs and to be joyous at the birth."

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