Presentation Authors: Philip Cheng*, Salt Lake City, UT, Akanksha Mehta, Atlanta, GA, Alexander Pastuszak, James Hotaling, Salt Lake City, UT
Introduction: Although an increasing number of gay men are seeking parenthood using an egg donor and a gestational carrier (GC), no studies have evaluated the reproductive concerns of gay men. The aim of this study is to explore the main areas of concern for gay men who have children through third party reproduction, and to use that information to create a quantitative, evidence-based survey tool to assess the needs of gay men interested in paternity.
Methods: Six gay males in the Salt Lake City area who had previously had children using a GC completed semi-structured interviews and provided written answers (multiple choice and open-ended questions) to different areas of concern specific to this population: sperm usage/male factor infertility, egg donation, surrogacy, legal issues, and financial burden. Interview and written answers were aggregated and analyzed.
Results: The mean age of the participants was 44Â±6.6 years. All men had been in committed relationships for at least 2 years (mean 9Â±6) prior to deciding to have children. The majority of the men had a college (5, 83%) or post-graduate degree (4, 67%). 50% found it difficult to understand the procedures involved in third party reproduction. None of the men had issues with male factor infertility. 50% used sperm from one partner while 50% used sperm from both partners and had more than one child. For 83%, third party reproduction was illegal in their state of residence, so they traveled to an out-of-state fertility center. 33% encountered legal issues (i.e. inability to get both names on a birth certificate) or had difficulties with a reproductive attorney. For 83%, financial considerations were significant, and 50% saved money for 2-5 years before seeking fertility services. When asked what part of the process was the most anxiety-provoking, a variety of answers were provided: 33% noted the cost of the process, 50% the health of the baby, and 33% the unknowns with regards to the GC, such as fear that she would not give up her rights to the child. 50% of the men expressed being overwhelmed by the long and complex process.
Conclusions: Gay men seeking biological children face unique reproductive challenges, such as the process of surrogacy and the inevitable legal and financial issues involved. A large-scale analysis is needed to build an evidence-based survey tool to assess the needs of gay men that can highlight the specific needs of the couple and facilitate an individualized approach to treatment.