A new book by the Scottish gay rights organisation,The Equality Network, called Pathways to Parenthood, tells the moving stories of around 69 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) individuals who are now mums and dads or on the way to becoming parents.
Author Heather Walker says: "One thing that came across clearly, apart from the logistical differences in how they become parents, is that the LGBT people have exactly the same worries about whether they're going to be good parents, and the same love of the child as anyone else."
However, for most, the journey towards parenting is much rockier, tougher and more challenging than for the average healthy straight couple. For some, getting the child they love - whether through surrogacy, assisted conception, artificial insemination or adoption - is an almost Herculean effort. Here we tell four of their stories.
The gay dad and the surrogate: Ryan
"Throughout my childhood, teenage years and adulthood, I had always thought I would be a dad. It was only in my early 20s when I first came out that I realised it might not be as easy for me as it was for other people.
"I moved to Scotland early in 2005 with work, and shortly afterwards I met Rick. I remember that, during the first few times we met, he mentioned he had a daughter, Marie. I saw this as a positive thing. I'd never had a relationship before with someone who was already a parent.
"Rick and I had been together probably about 18 months before I initiated the discussion about having a baby. By this point, I was doing well with work and was in a position where, financially, I could afford to go through the whole process. And it was expensive - there were the costs of the treatment, travel and surrogate expenses.
"For me to embark on any process which led to having a child, it would always have had to have been surrogacy. I wanted a child who was genetically linked to me.
"It would have felt very different adopting a child, compared to going through the whole process of being involved in a pregnancy and birth. Even at that stage I knew it wasn't going to be an easy process but I'm such a determined person, I knew I'd end up being a dad.
"At times the process was like a Carry On film, only nowhere near as funny. We would be introduced to surrogates and then for one reason or another it wouldn't work out: they either wouldn't get pregnant or would back out.
"One that we thought was going through the process suddenly cut all contact. We subsequently found out that she hadn't been taking the fertility treatment medication at all and had just taken the money - about £1000 - for herself.
"Finally we found Samantha, who lived in Scotland, was married and had three kids. I remember on that one day she phoned me while I was at home and asked, 'are you sitting down?' My heart jumped as I knew what was coming next. She told me she had taken a pregnancy test and it was positive.
"We eventually got to the day they were going to carry out the procedure to induce Samantha. We headed to the hospital about 9pm with the car seat, baby clothes, miniature nappies, and everything else we thought we would need.
"When we got there, we met Samantha at the door to the maternity unit, smoking. She'd started having contractions and it was a freezing cold night. It was difficult to believe that I'd be leaving this place with a child.
"After that it was a case of waiting around for what seemed like an eternity. When it finally happened, Samantha's mum came to us saying: 'You've had a beautiful baby girl. Come and cut the cord.' We'd talked about doing that when we first met Samantha. I went in and there was Erin, lying on her back on the bed, screaming. I just said, 'hello, beautiful' and they gave me the scissors.
"Afterwards Rick and I had a hug and then we had a few minutes alone with Erin, and it was all quite surreal. There was this beautiful, peaceful child wrapped in a blanket, in my arms, and I finally realised why I had been so determined to have her. Apart from an overwhelming sense of love, I also felt a massive sense of achievement, relief and fear. We got her back to Edinburgh. I remember looking at her a lot, thinking 'oh my God' a lot and speaking to my mum and my sister.
"Erin is now 20 months old. She has been such a pleasure to have around and by all accounts we have been quite lucky as she's always such a happy thing. She's never really been ill, her sleeping routine overnight has been great and she has settled in really well at nursery. People close to us have just accepted her as one of our family. She gets spoilt by all the attention and presents she is given but she thrives on it. I really am the proud dad I always wanted to be and I wouldn't have it any other way.
"I don't have any particular worries for her future. I sometimes think that she may be treated differently because she's got two dads but we'll deal with it if and when it happens. Our approach with her will be that she's special because she's got two dads, to be proud of it, and that it's good to be different."
The gay couple who adopted a brother and sister: Nuno
"I met my partner when I was 22 and soon afterwards started talking to him about adopting children. When I was around 27, I started considering adoption more seriously, gathering information from websites and talking to people who knew more about it and had even adopted themselves. After hearing the stories of several adoptive parents and how their decisions were life-changing, my partner and I reached the decision to adopt and embark on this marvellous adventure.
"We eventually applied to adopt in Germany where we were living at the time, but it didn't work out. We then moved to the UK where we applied in 2007. In 2011 we finally met our children, a two-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, siblings who were placed with us for adoption in September 2011.
"We cannot say it's been a completely smooth process, but it has surely been a worthwhile one.
"The assessment is a time-consuming exercise. Meeting our children and then starting to live with them and forming a family has not been problem-free either. It requires a lot of patience and preparation, and a strong commitment and willingness to change one's lifestyle and priorities.
"The amount of bureaucracy and the time the whole process takes is rather exhausting and trying, but I now consider it necessary to test one's determination. If one isn't willing to go through that, then one isn't probably prepared to deal with what comes afterwards. Once the children arrive, patience and energy levels are constantly put to the test. One's relationship is also strained to the limit."
The lesbian on
"I've always wanted to have children. Some people say that they want a career or that they want lots of money and the only thing I can ever remember thinking that I want for my future was to be a mum, and it's been like that since I was a teenager. I've been in a committed relationship for nearly 10 years and throughout all of that children have been at the forefront of my mind.
"Coming out as a lesbian didn't affect my thinking, it just added the practical question of 'How?' I have a physical, biological urge to have children but my partner doesn't, so it was easy to decide who would be the 'tummy mummy'.
"I have been trying to get pregnant for about the last seven years - at first we asked a gay friend, but then went on to get funded assisted conception through Dumfries and Galloway NHS. That was initially IUI (intra-uterine insemination), and then, when that didn't
"Right now if feels like a long and fruitless road. I was completely unprepared for it being such a long and difficult journey. There isn't anything wrong with my fertility and in fact, for a 40-year-old woman my fertility levels are very high. But unfortunately even though I've got a lot of eggs, the older you get the less viable those eggs become. I've had several miscarriages.
"When we first looked into it the policy of our local health board was not to fund treatment for same-sex couples, but the policy changed in 2010. We still had to get a loan to get donor sperm, because the health board doesn't pay for that. My mum re-mortgaged her house. It costs about £3000 to use the European Sperm Bank as they ask you to buy all the sperm you might need for all the IUI and IVF cycles. You get lots of information about the donor via the sperm bank: a photo of him as a child, a personality profile, his medical history.
"We've got seven frozen embryos left but when those embryos are used that's us, our funded shot over, so we're kind of on the countdown to the end of the road, whatever it might bring. I'm back in hospital on Monday for the next round of embryo transfer to begin. Previously to this I've been really excited when the hospital time came round again, but now I'm just 'oh, here we go again.' I still desperately want a child, but the process is so stressful at times. It's been so long and exhausting - emotionally and physically.
"On my first round of IVF, I got an early pregnancy positive a couple of days before my official test date - I was ecstatic as you might imagine. Later I found I had lost the pregnancy. It was the weirdest feeling - so much loss for something that barely even lived.
"Sometimes I wonder if I can keep going. But at the same time I've got frozen embryos that are little potential lives. If the programme's not successful, I'll be devastated. But I will brush myself off really quickly and start the adoption process. I would start it now if it wasn't for the fact you're not allowed to while you're on an IVF programme. I've become quite philosophical. I feel I know that there's a child out there for us - and it might be a biological child, or it might not, but whatever it is, it will be perfect for us."