Fertility Treatment Options for Lesbian Couples

Starting a family for any couple is a big decision. For lesbian couples, the path to parenthood can be a winding one full of fertility choices. There are nearly 200,00 children in the United States being raised by same-sex couples today, which means lesbian couples have more fertility treatment options today than ever before.

 

UNDERSTANDING FERTILITY TREATMENT OPTIONS

With the advanced reproductive technologies available, lesbian couples have a few options that can make the fertility journey unique and meaningful for both partners. While there isn’t currently any technology to unite two eggs from both partners, there are many fertility options that keep everyone involved along the way. Here are a few things to consider.

 

SPERM DONOR OPTIONS

Choosing a sperm bank is just as crucial as selecting the donor itself. Research the bank to make sure it’s reputable. Ask about the policies on donor identity, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and offspring limits. The next step is to select a sperm donor. Things to consider when choosing a donor include medical history, physical characteristics, and the interests, values, and education levels of the donor, since all of this is linked to genetics.

If a known sperm donor is available, it’s best to have a sperm analysis completed to ensure there aren’t any male fertility issues. Be sure to research laws about parent involvement if using a known donor. Record every decision in a contract drawn up by a licensed attorney.

 

CHOOSING ROLES FOR BOTH PARTNERS

After selecting a sperm donor, each partner will need to decide their role in starting the family. Shared maternity or co-maternity offers a unique opportunity to female couples. One partner may choose to provide the egg, and the other may decide to carry the baby.

During this process, the egg provider undergoes ovarian stimulation and egg collection. The eggs are fertilized using donor sperm, and the embryos are implanted into the gestational partner. If the couple uses the same sperm donor for any future pregnancies, all children will be genetic half-siblings.

 

INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION

During donor sperm intrauterine insemination, a syringe is used to place semen into a woman’s uterus to assist in pregnancy. This procedure has advanced in recent years and can even be completed with one cycle. Insemination can be done to place the sperm in the cervical opening or directly into the uterus.

 

IN VITRO FERTILIZATION

During this fertility treatment, mature eggs are collected from the ovaries and then fertilized with the sperm in a lab. The fertilized eggs are then placed back into the uterus. The entire process takes about two weeks. In vitro fertilization is a great option if one or both partners have conditions such as blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, or unexplained infertility.

Fertility options are personal decisions that each couple must make to meet their unique needs. There are no right or wrong decisions as long as each couple chooses what’s best for the situation at hand.

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