If you began your year with a goal of starting--or growing--your family, you deserve to see that dream realized. No matter your gender identity, if you have a vision of becoming a parent, we're here to offer our support.
The past few decades have come with incredible strides in the techniques and availability of fertility treatment options that you can choose from as you pursue parenthood.
In a previous post, we talked about 4 of the most empowering and inclusive LGBTQ+ family paths. But today, we'll focus on the most popular of these, why they're often a top choice for our families, and what you'll need to know about the next steps:
If You (Or Your Partner) Are Looking to Carry Your Child
Many of our patients have an intuitive sense, even before our first consultation, about whether or not they'd like to carry their child in pregnancy. This can make a big difference on the fertility treatment route we suggest--as there are many ways to have a healthy child without physically experiencing pregnancy. This is where it's important to reflect on your desires in this process and what you have envisioned for this process.
If this describes you, the most popular options you could pursue are IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro vertilization). Both of these procedures are common choices for same-sex female couples who have the desire to use their own embryos or a single female who would like to use her own embryo.
If you do not technically have proven infertility, IUI is an excellent option that is less expensive and time-intensive as IVF. It's also important to note that if you or your partner do not have a plan in mind for viable sperm, you'll want to work with your fertility specialist to select donor sperm.
- Talk to a fertility specialist about getting a full fertility workup to determine if you have any fertility issues that would influence whether you choose IUI or IVF.
- After that, you might work with them to decide if you will need to use a donor egg or sperm in your IUI or IVF cycle.
If You Are Interested in Using a Surrogate or Egg/Sperm Donor
The other most popular path for parenthood in LGBTQ+ families is procedures that involve using a surrogate and possible donor egg or sperm. This route may be a good choice for you if you have uncovered fertility conditions that prevent you or your partner from carrying your child or if neither you or your partner can produce eggs or sperm.
For male-male couples, you will need to use a surrogate to physically carry the child--but you may be able to ask a close family member or friend to be an egg donor.
We also recognize that for many couples, you simply might just decide neither one of you will carry your child. This is where we will work together to find the right combination of egg/sperm donors and surrogacy to create the right pregnancy option for you.
- Work with a fertility specialist to decide your timeline for finding a personal egg or sperm donor. If you decide not to ask a family member or friend, they can counsel you on the right resources for finding a donor through a sperm or egg bank.
- Determine if you would have a family member or friend who would act as a surrogate for you--or talk to your fertility specialist about the financials of using a surrogate.
If You're Interested in Fertility Preservation
If you identify as transgender and are interested in becoming a parent, you may want to research fertility preservation methods that can open up your future options.
Not every person who is living as a gender different from that assigned as birth goes through hormone therapy. However, if you are considering hormone therapy, you might consider freezing your sperm or eggs/embryos if your transition may affect your ability to produce them or carry a future child.
If, in the future, you decide you want to use your own embryos using a partner IVF, surrogacy, etc.--you have this option.
The most important part of this process is making sure that you consider the future you may want and the steps you might want to take to keep your options open.
- Consider egg, embryo, or sperm freezing with a fertility specialist.
Choosing the Right Option for Your Family
It's also worth noting that we are seeing many of our families opt for these great ways to include both partners in the pregnancy process:
- Using one partner's sperm for a first pregnancy, and the other partner's sperm for a second future pregnancy.
- Splitting the first cycle's donor eggs in half and developing embryos with each partner's sperm for future implantation.
- Using donor sperm to have each partner carry a child.
We're proud to serve people of all backgrounds, gender identities, and family styles. When you're researching procedures and specialists in your area, we hope this information is helpful and provides you with a feeling of empowerment.
We encourage you to find a team of fertility experts who respect you and acknowledge your desires as you become a parent. You deserve the best in your fertility journey, and if you have questions along the way, please reach out to us.