The two main fertility treatment options for LGBTQ families are IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro insemination). Whether the couple is two women, two men, transgender, or any combination thereof, the process of selecting a sperm or egg donor has been streamlined over the years. There are support groups and medical professionals ready and willing to answer all questions and guide the parents-to-be on their way to becoming a family.
What are fertility treatments?
Fertility treatment typically refers to medications that stimulate egg or sperm production, or procedures that involve the handling of eggs, sperm, or embryos. Most couples find success with medications and minor procedures such as IUI. When the egg and sperm must be mixed outside of the female body (for example IVF), this is known as assisted reproductive technology (ART). There are numerous medications and options available to each couple.
WHAT ARE THE OPTIONS FOR LGBTQ FAMILIES?
Two of the fertility options to consider are IUI and IVF. IUI (intrauterine insemination) is a method in which sperm is inserted into the uterus. IUI is recommended as a less invasive and less expensive fertility treatment option. IVF (In vitro fertilization) is a method in which the sperm and egg are fertilized outside of the body and then implanted into the uterus. IVF is recommended when chances of IUI success are low (due to age or low egg count). IVF is the most common fertility method for LGBTQ couples
SELECTING A SPERM DONOR
Lesbian, bisexual, or queer couples have two options for selecting a sperm donor: known or unknown donor. When selecting a donor, it is recommended that a sperm analysis is performed to determine the health and viability of the sperm. Sperm collection can be performed at a medical office or at home. When selecting an unknown donor, there are reputable sperm and cryobanks that can aid in the process. The same goes for using donor eggs, there are numerous egg banks that can guide the couple through the process. If the couple decides to use a donor egg, the IVF procedure can only be done in a medical facility.
SELECTING AN EGG DONOR/SURROGATE
Prior to the start of the procedures, the couple will undergo a semen analysis determine if the sperm of both partners can be used. If the donor is known and all parties involved have decided to undergo the IUI route, the procedure is typically performed in a medical facility but can be done at home if preferred. If the donor is unknown and all parties involved have decided to undergo the IVF route, the procedure can only be done in a medical facility. Couples must determine both the egg donor and the surrogate.
The following is a list of the most common questions LGBTQ couples may have when embarking on the journey to start a family:
- Where to get donor sperm?
- Is donor sperm needed?
- Where to obtain donor eggs?
- Are donor egg needed?
- Which partner undergoes the procedure?
- Who will carry the pregnancy?
- Can both partners be biologically related to the baby/babies?
- What are the costs of treatment?
Fertility treatments for LGBTQ couples are completely possible. Though there are a few extra steps (such as finding a sperm or egg donor), thousands of babies have been born to loving families. Any fertility process is deeply personal, and best handled with the help of a mental health professional and medical doctor. There is a wealth of support groups out there to answer any questions and support you along the way!
To determine which fertility treatment will be right for you and your family, please contact our fertility specialist to schedule an appointment. Let us help you start your family!