After struggling with fertility in his personal life, Dr. Shahin Ghadir helps countless gay couples become dads. We caught him for an interview prior to his next presentation for intended gay parents and came out with an idea that might help reduce the cost of surrogacy (at least a little) .

We often joke about the fact that in order to have biological children, gay men have to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars while straight couples–all they really need is a cheap bottle of wine. The process ain’t gettin’ cheaper any time soon, however, the good news is that there are more and more providers of the service, and the competition may end up easing our expenses.

“Unfortunately, the fact that gay dads must use donor eggs, a surrogate and a fertility clinic, make the process costly,” admits Dr. Shahin Ghadir of Southern California Reproductive Center in Los Angeles. “Luckily, the number of options for clinics, egg donor agencies and surrogacy agencies has grown significantly and no longer are the most expensive options the only options. It is important to realize, however, that the cheapest options may also not be the best options.”

Dr. Ghadir has been a long-time supporter of the LGBTQ community and has helped many gay men, singles and couples, become dads. He even started his own charitable organization named Fertility For All in order to raise awareness and funds to assist individuals and couples that cannot afford the fertility journey. Ghadir is a supporter of the Men Having Babies organization, and recently he began to initiate group meetings for gay men in his home office in Beverly Hills to update them on the latest fertility advancements for LGBTQ families.

“Very early in my career I was lucky to be referred a handful of LGBT couples which led to multiple future referrals and all of their friends along with many surrogacy agencies referring more and more LGBT couples to my practice,” he says. “I have always had open arms to treat everyone struggling with infertility and the LGBT community has a specific set of challenges that I have been able to help with in a very caring, mindful and inclusive manner. Every loving, intending parent deserves the right to be treated this way.

“For years I was on the Board of Directors at the American Fertility Association which then became The Path to Parenthood, which allowed a voice in helping the LGBT community. Recently, I am beyond proud of the merger of Path to Parenthood and The Family Equality Council and I look forward to continuing my contribution to this organization.” 

Dr. Ghadir’s sensitivity and compassion for couples who seek biological parenthood comes from his own life experience, when his wife was having trouble conceiving and needed the help of IVF.

“After my oldest daughter was conceived and born without any difficulties we experienced a miscarriage when we were ready for baby number two,” he shares. “One and a half years after that miscarriage and after six months of artificial insemination we decided to move forward with IVF and that led to the successful birth of our twin son and daughter. Very quickly into the process of fertility treatments I realized it’s best not to treat your wife and at that point, my partner stepped in as our doctor.”

While many gay couples are overwhelmed by the number of agencies that are out there, Dr. Ghadir points in a different direction when starting the surrogacy journey. 

“I do not believe that going straight to a surrogacy agency is the correct first step. I strongly believe that finding a doctor that you trust and a clinic with experience in surrogacy and egg donation is the most important first step. Using the resources of a fertility clinic is a better way to find multiple options for potential surrogacies and then move forward with the recommendations of your doctor. Going to a specific surrogacy agency may limit you to the one or two doctors that they work with regularly, whom may not be the best fit for your needs.”

Here’s a theory: if you go to find your ideal Doctor first, rather than an agency, it will be easier to choose the agency and may result in lowering costs; most Doctors work with more than one agency, so when you find the right doctor for you, it should be easier to compare terms of payments and the total cost between agencies that Doctor is working with — AND get the best results for you.

Parenthood for Gay Men: Free Educational Seminar on the latest fertility advancements for LGBTQ families with Dr. Shahin Ghadir takes place Saturday, February 23 at 11am in Beverly Hills, CA. More details 
IG: @drshahinghadir