People in Spain have access to more family-building options than many realize
In the last seven years, I have helped dozens of patients in Spain to have children through IVF and gestational surrogacy.
Last summer we held a “baby reunion” in Barcelona for some of the families. It was great to meet the children and to share in the love surrounding all of these families as they shared their heartfelt stories about their children.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know not only that I played some role in helping these committed people to achieve their goal of having children, but also that these children would be raised in a home filled with more love than one ever could define. It was a happy day.
Sadly, many Spaniards don’t realize it’s possible to have children through surrogacy. Spain, like most European countries, has made surrogacy illegal. For women unable to carry a child themselves, and for gay men who want to have children, this means they must travel abroad for fertility care.
Yet access to family-building options like surrogacy are still wide open, even for people living in Spain.
My first visit to Spain was in 2010 to give a seminar on family building through surrogacy as part of a summer gay festival. As I walked the sidewalks of Barcelona and Madrid on a Saturday afternoon, I noticed the love, affection, and adoration given to children by their parents and loved ones.
The children I saw were well-groomed, pampered, and watched over by their attentive family members and friends. To be a child in Spain is a privilege; It means that you will be loved and cared for by your parents and extended family members. All children should be able to experience this joyous outpouring of affection.
Both straight and gay people – couples and singles – interested in having children of their own attended the lectures we held in Spain. The lecture halls were filled to capacity and had standing room only once the talks began.
The individuals and couples that I met were committed to following the best medical options that would enable them to have children. The treatment involves a cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos using their eggs or the eggs of an egg donor, followed by embryo transfer into a gestational surrogate – the woman who would carry and deliver the child.
The audience was very attentive and hungry for information on the reproductive treatment options available in California.
We are fortunate in California to be home to some of the world’s most respected surrogacy agencies. States govern the laws pertaining to surrogacy in the United States, and California is one of the safest places in the world to pursue surrogacy, because the laws are very protective of the rights of the intended parents.
In addition, the United States has always been at the forefront of the rapidly developing science of reproductive medicine. That enables us to provide some of the highest pregnancy rates attainable today.
I hope next time we have a baby reunion in Spain it’s with not just dozens but hundreds of families. Everyone should have the right to build the family that brings the most joy to their lives. The ability to bring joy to the lives of those children is one of the happiest blessings we have. Thankfully we in California have made it possible for people in Spain to do just that.