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Gay couples use surrogates to help grow families

photo strip
Nila, top, is acting as a surrogate mother for Halm, bottom left, and Simard (with daughter Malina)  
August 2, 1998
Web posted at: 12:44 p.m. EDT (1644 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Elizabeth Nila knows the child she's carrying isn't hers.

She also knows who the fathers are -- both of them.

Nila is acting as a surrogate mother for Will Halm and Marcellin Simard, a gay couple who have lived together for 12 years.

"As long as they're two loving parents, I think that's the more important issue. And they definitely are," says Nila, who was implanted with a donated egg fertilized by one of the men's sperm.

Although statistics on gay surrogacy are scarce, increasing numbers of homosexual men and women appear to be arranging to have their own children rather than adopt.

"The whole idea of creating children that are biologically connected to you -- not everyone needs to do that. But for those of us who feel it's sort of a basic human desire and want it, it's a great option," says Halm.

Halm and Simard already have a daughter, Malina, born of a surrogate mother. Halm works with a surrogacy firm making arrangements for gays and lesbians who say they're not well served by mainstream agencies.

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Jim Hill reports on how one gay couple is creating their family
Windows Media 28K 56K

Because they can't conceive on their own, some gay couples refer to themselves as infertile. But critics of gay parenting say there's no comparison to heterosexual couples who have trouble conceiving a child.

"What's important here is that they're prostituting what is intended to have a natural course," says the Rev. Lou Sheldon. "They want to perform something in an unnatural way as homosexuals."

But Halm and Simard argue they are doing what's natural for them.

"I'm very excited that I never gave up," says Simard, "because we have Malina, and it's the best thing that ever happened to me."

If all goes well, Nila will give birth to Halm and Simard's son in September.

Correspondent Jim Hill contributed to this story.

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