So, you’re ready to become a parent and want to know what you don’t know. That’s okay! Becoming a parent is a huge life change for anyone, and requires a lot of planning and thought. At Cofertility, we work with gay dads on a regular basis. Here are some helpful questions you and your partner can discuss as you begin your journey.
The tactics: how will you build your family?
There are several options for becoming a gay dad, including egg donation and surrogacy, adoption, fostering, and co-parenting. Each option has its own unique set of pros and cons, so it's important to research and consider them carefully before making a decision.
- Egg donation and surrogacy: Gay dads can become parents through egg donation and surrogacy. This can be an expensive and complex process, but it allows gay dads to have a biological connection to their child. So which comes first - finding an egg donor or finding a surrogate? Read this article to find out.
- Adoption: Gay dads can adopt children through the public or private adoption process. In some states and countries, same-sex couples have the same legal rights to adopt as opposite-sex couples, while in others, there may be additional challenges and limitations.
- Fostering: Gay dads can also become parents by fostering children who are in need of a temporary or permanent home. This can be a great way to provide a child with a stable and loving environment while also building a family.
- Co-parenting: Gay dads can also become parents by co-parenting, where they raise a child together with another gay or straight person. This can be a great way for single gay dads to become parents and create a family, but it requires clear communication and a strong support system to be successful.
It's important to research and consider all options carefully, and to consult with professionals, such as lawyers and social workers, to understand the legal and practical considerations of each option.
How will you navigate the legal aspects of becoming a gay dad?
Becoming a gay dad can come with a number of legal challenges. It's important to research and understand the laws and regulations in your state or country.
Here are some steps to help:
- Research the laws and regulations: It's important to understand the laws and regulations surrounding gay adoption, surrogacy, and co-parenting in your state or country. Research the requirements and processes for each option, as well as any restrictions or limitations that may apply.
- Consult with a lawyer: Consider consulting with a lawyer who specializes in LGBTQ+ family law. They can provide guidance on the legal process and help navigate any challenges or obstacles that may arise. If you work with Cofertility, we can recommend lawyers we trust.
- Seek out resources: You are not alone! There are many resources available to help gay dads navigate the legal aspects of building a family. Consider reaching out to local LGBTQ+ organizations, joining support groups, and using online resources to connect with other gay dads.
- Make a plan: Make a detailed plan that covers the legal aspects of the process, and include contingencies for any unexpected situations.
Which partner will play what role?
In families led by two dads, just like in any other family, each parent plays a unique and important role in the upbringing and development of their children.
One dad may take on the role of the primary caregiver, handling the day-to-day responsibilities of raising the children such as feeding, bathing, and dressing them. This dad may also be the one who takes the lead in organizing and coordinating activities for the family, such as playdates, school events, and extracurricular activities.
The other dad may take on the role of the primary breadwinner, working outside of the home to financially support the family. This dad may also be the one who takes the lead in teaching the children important life skills such as budgeting, managing money, and planning for the future.
Both dads may also share responsibilities for providing emotional support, guidance, and discipline for their children. They may also take turns in being the one who is available to attend important events or activities in their child's life.
It's also important to note that these roles may change and evolve over time as the needs and dynamic of the family change. But mapping out these roles ahead of time will make the transition to parenthood even smoother.
The most important thing is that both dads are loving, supportive, and actively involved in the children's lives.
What paternity leave do you have?
Paternity leave (and maternity leave, for that matter) is woefully inadequate in the United States. And it can be especially challenging for gay dads to navigate. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Research your rights: Laws and regulations surrounding paternity leave for gay dads can vary greatly by state or country. It's important to research and understand the laws and regulations in your area, and to consult with a lawyer if necessary.
- Understand your employer’s policies: Some employers may have more progressive policies for paternity leave for gay dads, while others may not have any policies in place. It's important to understand your employer's policies and to discuss your needs with your supervisor or human resources department.
- Plan ahead: If you are planning to have a child through egg donation and surrogacy, adoption or co-parenting, it's important to plan ahead and to discuss your paternity leave needs with your employer well in advance. This will help ensure that you have the time and support you need to bond with your child and to take care of any necessary logistics.
- Consider using Paid Time Off (PTO): Many employers may not have a specific policy for paternity leave for gay dads, but they may have a general PTO policy that can be used for this purpose. Consider taking turns using PTO.
- Look into paternity leave advocacy groups: There may be advocacy groups that can help you navigate your rights and options when it comes to paternity leave as a gay dad. Research and reach out to these groups for guidance and support.
- Be prepared for potential discrimination: Unfortunately, discrimination can still happen in the workplace, be prepared for it and have a plan of action to deal with it.
How will you pay for the high cost of parenthood in the United States?
It goes without saying – having a child and raising a child are expensive endeavors.
Each option for becoming a gay dad comes with its own set of costs, such as legal fees, agency fees, medical expenses, and more. It's important to have a realistic understanding of the expenses involved and to plan accordingly. (An egg donor journey with Cofertility will cost around $12,500 plus any expenses from your clinic associated with the donor’s screening, medication, egg retrieval, and your donor’s travel expenses).
The costs don’t stop at having a baby. From the day your baby is born until the day they turn 18, your family will spend about $310,605 — or about $17,000 a year, according to a Brookings Institution analysis. Of course, this number is much higher if you live in certain cities or decide to hire a nanny or put your child in private school. It’s important for you and your partner to map out and estimate what these costs will be so you’re fully prepared. There may be financial assistance available to help cover the costs of becoming a gay dad, such as grants or loans. We highly recommend considering all your options.
How will you talk to your child about their family and their origin story?
Having open and honest conversations with your child about their family and their origin story is important. Children may have unique questions and concerns, and it's important to be prepared to address them in a way that is age-appropriate and sensitive. Here are some tips to help guide these conversations:
- Be open and honest: Be prepared to address conversations in an open and honest manner. Being transparent with your child will help them understand and normalize their family dynamic.
- Use age-appropriate language: It's important to use language that is age-appropriate when talking to your child about their family and their origin story. Use simple, clear language that your child can understand, and be prepared to answer questions in a way that is appropriate for their age and developmental stage.
- Encourage questions: Encourage your child to ask questions and express their thoughts and feelings. This will help them feel more comfortable and confident in discussing their family and origin story.
- Use resources: Consider using resources, such as books and videos, to help guide these conversations. There are many children's books available that explore different family structures and can be a great tool for discussing family dynamics with your child.
- Create a positive narrative: Create a positive narrative around your child's family and origin story. Emphasize the love and care that went into building your family, and remind your child that they are deeply loved and valued.
- Be prepared to talk about discrimination and bias: Although we hope your family doesn’t have to deal with this, discrimination and bias may still happen. Be prepared to talk about it with your child and to have a support system to help you navigate it.
- Keep the conversation going: These conversations about family and origin story are ongoing, and it's important to keep the lines of communication open with your child. As they grow and develop, they may have new questions and thoughts to share, and it's important to be there for them.
Remember, every child is different and will have their own way to process and understand their family and origin story, be open and understanding of their feelings and always let them know that they are loved and valued. With open and honest communication, you can help your child feel comfortable and confident in their family dynamic.
How will you create a supportive and nurturing environment for your child?
Creating a supportive and nurturing environment for your child is essential. This means providing a stable and loving home, fostering open communication, and encouraging your child to explore their interests and passions. It also means surrounding yourself with a strong support system of friends, family, and professionals who can provide guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of being a gay dad.
Here are some tips to help you create a loving and supportive home for your child:
- Provide a stable and loving home: A child's home should be a safe and secure place where they feel loved and valued.
- Foster open communication: Encourage open communication with your child and make sure they feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns. This will help them develop trust in you and feel more secure in their home environment.
- Encourage exploration and independence: Children should be encouraged to explore their interests and passions. This helps them develop their own sense of self, and learn about their own abilities and interests.
- Create a positive family culture: Create a positive family culture by fostering a sense of belonging and connection among family members. This can be done by spending quality time together, celebrating family milestones and traditions, and promoting a sense of unity and mutual respect.
- Surround yourself with a support system: It's important to have a strong support system of friends, family, and professionals who can provide guidance and support as you navigate the challenges of being a parent. This will help ensure that your child is well cared for and that you have the support you need to be the best parent you can be.
- Set boundaries and rules: Clear boundaries and rules are important for creating a safe and secure environment for your child. This includes setting boundaries for behavior, setting limits for technology use, and creating a consistent schedule for meals and bedtime.
- Show love and affection: Show your child love and affection on a regular basis. This can be done through hugs, kisses, and verbal affirmations. This will help your child feel secure and loved, and will create a strong emotional bond between you and your child.
Becoming a gay dad can be a rewarding and fulfilling journey, but it also comes with its own set of unique challenges. By researching your options, building a strong support system, understanding the legal and financial aspects, talking to your child about their family and origin story, and creating a supportive and nurturing environment, you can help ensure a successful and happy family.
Cofertility is a human-first fertility ecosystem rewriting the egg freezing and egg donation experience. Our Family by Co platform serves as a more transparent, ethical egg donor matching platform. We are obsessed with improving the family-building journey — today or in the future — and are in an endless pursuit to make these experiences more positive.
View all articles