Building Your Family: LGBTQ+ Fertility Options

Embarking on the path to parenthood is a monumental life decision, often accompanied by a swirl of emotions, hopes, and dreams. This journey can also raise an array of questions about the best options for building a family. Whether you’re just beginning to explore your options or are ready to take the next step, this guide breaks down several of the options available to members of the LGBTQ+ community. 

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is a common and relatively simple fertility procedure. It involves placing sperm directly into the uterus during ovulation to increase the chances of fertilization. This option is popular among same-sex female couples and single women using donor sperm.

How it works:

  • A sperm donor is selected.
  • The sperm is prepared and inserted into the uterus using a thin catheter.
  • The procedure is timed with ovulation to maximize success.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is a more complex procedure compared to IUI but can offer higher success rates. It involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside the body in a lab, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus.

How it works:

  • Eggs are retrieved from the ovaries.
  • The eggs are fertilized with sperm in a lab.
  • The resulting embryos are monitored and one or more are transferred to the uterus.

IVF is a versatile option suitable for same-sex male couples using an egg donor and surrogate, same-sex female couples using a sperm donor, and transgender individuals and couples. 

Reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF allows both partners in a same-sex female couple to participate biologically in the creation of their child. One partner provides the eggs, which are fertilized with donor sperm, and the other partner carries the pregnancy.

How it works:

  • One partner undergoes ovarian stimulation to produce eggs.
  • The eggs are fertilized with donor sperm through IVF.
  • The embryos are transferred to the uterus of the other partner.

This option allows both partners to be physically involved in the pregnancy process. The success rates are similar to traditional IVF, and it offers a beautiful way to share the journey of pregnancy.

Gestational Carrier/Surrogacy

Surrogacy involves a third party, known as a gestational carrier, who carries the pregnancy for the intended parents. This is a popular option for same-sex male couples, couples where neither partner can carry a pregnancy, as well as transgender individuals.

How it works:

  • Intended parents create embryos using their own or donor eggs and sperm.
  • The embryos are transferred to the gestational carrier’s uterus.
  • The carrier carries the pregnancy to term and delivers the baby to the intended parents.

It’s important to note the legal and financial aspects, as surrogacy can be expensive and laws vary by state and country. If you are interested in learning more about surrogacy, we also recommend checking out this blog post highlighting our featured partner, Surrogacy Simplified. 

Adoption

Adoption is a wonderful way to build a family and provide a loving home to a child in need. It can be pursued domestically or internationally, and there are many types of adoption to consider, including open, semi-open, and closed adoptions.

How it works:

  • Research and choose an adoption agency or attorney.
  • Complete a home study and background checks.
  • Wait for a match with a child or birth mother.
  • Finalize the adoption through legal procedures.

The process and requirements vary greatly depending on the type of adoption and the laws in your area, but many LGBTQ+ couples and individuals have successfully built their families this way.

We hope this guide has given you a clearer picture of the many family-building options available to the LGBTQ+ community. Every family’s journey is unique, and there’s no right or wrong path to parenthood. If you have any questions or need further support, we’re here to help.

For more detailed information and resources, check out the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

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