Mom. You want the name. We want to help make that happen. At LGBT Fertility we’re passionate about what we do, how we do it and why. Our passion is clear. Our passion is parenthood.
For same-sex female couples, having a child with a biological link to one partner requires the use of donor sperm. However, like all women, you and/or your partner may face fertility challenges, including advanced age, PCOS, fibroids, excessive weight or endometriosis. Each partners’ health plays an integral role in the fertility treatments that may be necessary to conceive.
Methods for Biological Parenting
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) with donor sperm is the most common process of conception utilized by female couples. Sperm donors can be either known or anonymous.
An IUI is a relatively simple and painless procedure and can be performed either during a natural menstrual cycle or a cycle in which ovulation is improved by the oral medication Clomid. Utilizing Clomid offers significantly higher pregnancy success and a shorter period of treatment.
Even though donor insemination is a simple solution, a positive pregnancy depends largely on the quality of the donor sperm used.
Using a Sperm Bank
Donor semen is available from a several reliable sperm banks. Sperm donors are screened for transmissible diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and cytomegalovirus. Sperm is cryopreserved (frozen) by the sperm bank and is quarantined for six months before it is available for purchase and insemination.
Sperm-donor profiles are available online that summarize each potential donor’s family and medical history. A short personal narrative is usually available, as well as information about the sperm donor’s physical characteristics such as eye and hair color, skin tone and blood type. A donor’s ethnicity and education level are often specified, and many sperm banks offer pictures and other information on their sperm donors for a fee.
Donor specimens can be shipped to LGBT Fertility directly from the sperm bank. We have a state-of-the-art facility that will keep the specimen frozen and safe until you are ready to use it. Storage fees will apply for cryopreserved specimens remaining at LGBT Fertility for more than one year.
Using a Designated or Directed Sperm Donor
It is becoming increasingly common for female couples to use a relative or non-intimate friend as a designated sperm donor. Utilizing a male sibling or another male relative as the sperm donor would assure an even more complete genetic family. Example: If your brother offers to serve as your donor, his specimen will be used to fertilize your partner’s egg; this creates a child with a biological link to both you and your partner. The directed sperm donor must not be genetically related to the partner donating the eggs.
LGBT Fertility advises patients to follow the Society for Reproductive Sciences and Technology (SART) donor-tissue banking guidelines regarding infectious disease screening and quarantining of donor sperm from a non-intimate male. While a directed sperm donation is a more cost-effective option, couples should be very cognizant of any social challenges that may arise. We direct all patients to obtain legal counsel before the insemination procedure.
Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization
IUI is a very successful treatment option for female couples, however it means one partner has little physical involvement in process. Reciprocal IVF, however, allows both partners to be physically involved in conception. With this arrangement, one of the partners will donate her eggs, so she becomes the egg donor supplying the genetic makeup of the child, while the other partner is the recipient of the embryo and carries the pregnancy; thereby creating the ultimate two-mother family. The new family will enjoy the legal recognition and social privileges of complete, dual motherhood.
The success of having a child through reciprocal IVF depends on a variety of factors:
- the fertility and health of the egg-donor partner
- the fertility and health of the sperm donor
- the health of the recipient partner
- the expertise and skill of the physicians and embryologists managing the process
Questions to Consider:
- Which is better for your family building: IUI or reciprocal IVF?
- Which partner’s eggs will be used?
- Will the sperm come from a directed donor or from a sperm bank?
- Which partner will carry the baby?