Family Building for Gay Men
Family building for gay men generally requires IVF with the use of a gestational carrier and an egg donor. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy with the embryos created from the eggs of another woman. For gay men, the egg provider is either an anonymous or known egg donor. Typically, the eggs donated by the donor are inseminated in the In Vitro Fertilization laboratory with the sperm of one of the male partners. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the gestational carrier, who has been taking hormones to prevent her own ovulation and to also prepare her uterus to receive the embryo.
There are guidelines that we follow to ensure that this is a safe and efficient process for all involved parties. We do not recommend locating potential gestational carriers online without going through a gestational carrier agency. This is an intensive process that requires adherence to FDA regulations and national guidelines and should not be undertaken without significant experience and expertise
Family Building for Lesbian Women
For lesbian women, the options for conception include:
- Sperm donation and intrauterine insemination using sperm from a bank, or from a known sperm donor, with or without the use of fertility-enhancing medications.
- IVF with donor sperm with one partner providing eggs and gestating the pregnancy
- IVF with donor sperm with one partner providing the eggs and the other partner gestating the pregnancy, sometimes referred to as IVF Co-Maternity.
If a sperm donor is required, we can provide referrals to reliable sperm banks.
If the patient wishes to use a known sperm donor, there are several requirements. These include compliance with all infectious disease testing as required by the FDA, a physical exam and psychological counseling for the donor and recipient couple. Additionally, we require freezing the semen specimen in advance of the treatment cycle. We also strongly recommend a legal agreement when possible co-parenting relationships are expected.
Reproductive Options for Lesbian Couples or Single Women
Artificial Insemination with Donor Sperm (AID)
Reproductive options for lesbian couples or single women involve, in the vast majority of cases, sperm donation only. After a basic evaluation of the intended recipient’s (one of the women in a lesbian relationship or a single woman) reproductive function (ovulatory function, normalcy of the uterus and fallopian tubes), one basic treatment course is artificial insemination with donor sperm. Donor sperm insemination is a simple procedure, which requires the pre-selection and purchase of frozen sperm from a licensed sperm bank. Qualified banks boast an extensive list of screened anonymous sperm donors to include information such as ethnic background, body build, eye color, hair color and skin tone as well as education, profession and hobbies, among other details and attributes. They also test their donors for all FDA mandated infectious and basic genetic diseases. The main goal of sperm banks is to offer a diverse selection of high quality sperm, which will withstand freezing and is likely to lead to pregnancy.
The chosen donor sperm is purchased in vials, and can be stored and thawed at the ideal time as determined together with your fertility specialist. Insemination can be performed during a natural menstrual cycle or a cycle in which ovulation is enhanced by oral medication such as Clomid or injectable ovulation induction agents that can significantly increase pregnancy success and often shorten the duration of treatment.
For lesbian patients interested in IVF Co-Maternity, we will stimulate one partner to produce the eggs as per standard IVF treatment protocols. The final event for the egg-providing partner is the egg retrieval. While the egg-providing partner is undergoing treatment with the egg-stimulating medications, the other partner will take Lupron, estrogen injections and progesterone injections to shut off her own ovulation and prepare the uterus for receipt of an embryo. She will then undergo the embryo transfer procedure 5 days after her partner has had the egg retrieval procedure. The baby will have the genetic make-up of the egg providing partner and the sperm donor and the gestating partner will carry the pregnancy, give birth and breastfeed the infant. We do recommend legal agreements so that both mothers can be listed on the birth certificate.
Family Building for Transgender Individuals
This might involve Intrauterine insemination or In Vitro Fertilization, with or without the involvement of third parties. The treatments will, of course, depend on the individual circumstances.
Please contact our center to schedule a consultation to meet with our fertility specialists to discuss your family planning options.