Planning To Grow Your Family
When LGBTQ+ couples start considering family planning, there a few factors to think about. While most same-sex couples do not need fertility treatments for infertility, many seek the help of a fertility specialist for building a family. Specifically, many LGBTQ+ couples benefit from third-party reproductive assistance.
What are the third-party reproduction options?
The appropriate third-party reproduction option can vary based on each couple’s circumstances. For example, female same-sex couples typically need donor sperm for one partner to get pregnant through artificial insemination. Depending on the couple’s preference, female same-sex couples may choose to have one partner carry the pregnancy. Male same-sex couples and some female same-sex couples may prefer a surrogate to carry the pregnancy.
Mixing and matching your options
Many LGBTQ+ couples choose a variety of these services. For example, some female couples may choose to involve both partners by using one partner’s eggs for in vitro fertilization (IVF) and having the other partner carry the pregnancy. Same-sex male couples may choose to use one partner’s sperm or may opt for donor sperm. All of these choices come down to a couple’s personal preferences and needs.
Gestational carrier vs surrogacy
Pregnancies can involve a third-party female who agrees to carry the baby for the couple. In these types of relationships, there are a couple of options. Gestational carriers refer to women who have an embryo implanted in the uterus. The woman carries the baby but contributes no donor eggs and is not genetically related to the baby. In traditional surrogacy, the woman becomes pregnant through artificial insemination or IVF. The baby has the genes of the father or donor sperm and of the woman carrying the pregnancy.
Other factors to consider
There are many details that go into choosing third-party reproductive assistance. If a couple needs donor eggs or sperm, where does that donation come from? Should a couple choose a friend, acquaintance, or anonymous donor? Couples also want to consider the health of the donor. Ideally, women who donate eggs should be between ages 21-34 and in good physical health. The rates of success with egg donations are excellent: in 2015, about 46% of all egg donation cycles resulted in live births.
What option is right for me?
Couples should also understand the legal considerations and state laws surrounding third-party reproduction. Guidelines vary by state, so consult with an expert before pursuing third-party reproduction options. Many same-sex couples find success with third-party reproductive assistance and appreciate sharing genes with the child. For more information about fertility treatments, speak with a fertility specialist.