When Alana S. Newman attended a conference on family formation, she was shocked to find that surrogacy has become a "booming" market among gay couples.
"The event was overflowing with a shocking enthusiasm for motherlessness, and it served as an opportunity to promote the fertility industry's most lucrative package: egg donors plus surrogates, for gay male couples and single-dads-by-choice," said Newman of the Anonymous Us Project, an organization which focuses on the topic of "third party reproduction," while describing the event (sponsored by American Association for Adoption and Reproductive Technologies Attorneys) that took place in Charleston, S.C.
Newman says gay male couples are the most targeted demographic by American surrogacy agencies. She told The Christian Post that the increased focus on gay surrogacy came from many social factors, including "celebrity normalcy, Perez Hilton, Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris, desire to spread their genes, [and] devaluation of motherhood."
She explained to CP that with nations like India banning gay surrogacy, the United States has become the new major market for the practice.
"India recently banned gay couples from use of their surrogates. America has replaced it as the go to country for reproductive tourism," said Newman.
"There are new agencies opening frequently. Check out Midwestern states like Indiana and Oklahoma and Idaho. They advertise non-discrimination clauses and market their services using gay male couples as models."
Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another individual or couple.
While surrogacy agencies promote their services to couples whose childbearing efforts have been hindered by medical issues, many are now targeting gay couples seeking to have children of their own.
Organizations like Modern Family Surrogacy, The Rainbow Babies, and Men Having Babies, Inc. cater to the gay surrogacy demand, which is reportedly on the rise in the United States.
Founded in 2012, Men Having Babies describes its mission to provide resources, seminars, and workshops on gay surrogacy, and also "runs several programs to promote its educational, advocacy and affordability mission."
"Our mission includes … promoting the affordability of surrogacy related services for gay men through financial assistance and the encouragement of transparency and customer feedback," reads the About page for the group, "promoting surrogacy practices that minimize the risks and maximize the potential short and long-term benefits to all involved, … raising awareness about the potential benefits and meaningful relationships surrogacy arrangements can bring about."
It is one of several groups founded recently that seeks to provide same-sex couples with a child, often in exchange for a considerable amount of money.
Surrogacy within the gay community appears to be a growing trend as society becomes more accepting of homosexual behavior.
Back in 2008, Susan Donaldson James of ABC News reported that there "appears to be a shift in attitude among gay men in their 30s and 40s, who hadn't traditionally been all that keen on becoming parents."
"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," reported James.
"Surrogate agencies around the country now provide 'one-stop' services where gay men can find an egg donor and a woman to carry the child."
"The desire to have children and be parents is one of the most fundamental aspects of being human. In the past, this desire was oftentimes denied to GLBT people," observed Rainbow Babies.
"With the advent of advanced medical treatments, as well as changing societal beliefs, this process is now much more accessible."
Jeff Johnston, issues analyst with Focus on the Family, disapproves of surrogacy in general. When asked what the long-term effects of this trend could be, he said that it will likely contribute to the already present confusion in American society regarding "what it means to be male and female, about masculinity and femininity."
"No-fault divorce and marriage redefinition have already wreaked havoc with God's design and with families and children," said Johnston. "The surrogacy movement adds to this confusion by further distancing childbearing and parenting from God's intention for families."
"While we understand the longing for a child that infertile couples may have, we believe paying a surrogate mother to have a baby is morally wrong and has already led to numerous problems," said Johnston.
"The surrogacy movement treats women and babies as commodities to be rented, bought or sold, rather than as precious beings made in the image of God."
Regarding gay surrogacy, Johnston told CP that he recalled once meeting a same-sex couple that had obtained a toddler via the surrogacy system of paying a mother to birth the child.
"I felt such sorrow for this young girl, deliberately brought up as a motherless child. She had no mother to bond with, no model of healthy femininity, no mom to engage with while navigating life as a girl and woman," said Johnston.
"Same-sex couples who pay someone to carry a child are acting as if mothers and fathers are interchangeable, as if men and women parent children the same way. That's simply not true."
Several surrogacy agencies were contacted for this article but they did not respond to requests for comment by press time.