How it Works
Third-party reproduction for male couples requires the support and expertise of many professionals, including surrogacy and egg-donor agencies, attorneys and a fertility center. The length of time from your initial consultation with LGBT Fertility to a positive pregnancy test varies from couple to couple. The more proactive you are about finding the right egg donor and gestational carrier (GC) for your family, the quicker the medical and legal processes can begin. On average, it takes about six months from your first appointment with us to complete all necessary pre-screening procedures and a fresh-embryo cycle.
Steps to Fatherhood:
Step 1: The initial consultation. During your initial consultation with LGBT Fertility, you and your partner will meet with one of our doctors and our egg donor and surrogacy coordinator. We will review your medical records and explain each step of the process thoroughly. A patient-care coordinator will be assigned who will help you navigate easily through each phase. Additionally, you will meet with a financial counselor who will review fees and discuss your insurance coverage and possible financing options.
Step 2: Selecting an egg donor. Together with your partner, you will make a list of essential characteristics you both are looking for in an egg donor: Do you want a specific hair or eye color? A certain religious heritage? Our egg donor coordinator will meet with you and provide access to our in-house egg donor database; you will be able to review profiles and pictures of potential egg donors. You may also choose to use an agency donor or a friend or family member, if medically appropriate.
Step 3: Choosing a gestational carrier. LGBT Fertility works with excellent surrogacy centers, both local and national, that are dedicated to helping couples find the perfect gestational carrier for them. These agencies will perform background checks on potential candidates and are very experienced in helping couples navigate the process. This will require that you engage an attorney who specializes in reproductive law. Texas is a very friendly state for gestational carriers. Surrogacy agreements intended for gestational surrogacy are considered binding when they are validated in court. Your attorney will produce a contract that will detail the rights and obligations of each party. The agency will work with you and your attorney to secure surrogacy pre-birth orders, voluntary acknowledgements of paternity, court orders and second-parent adoptions. LGBT Fertility will work closely with all involved parties to make this process as seamless as possible.
Step 4. Counseling and evaluation. The partner donating the sperm is required by the FDA to undergo screening for infectious diseases. The sample will be collected, tested and stored at LGBT Fertility‘s cryobank until it is time to fertilize the donor eggs. Eggs can be fertilized with sperm from one or both partners.
Step 5. The medical process.
- Your GC and egg donor are both started on birth control pills and then Lupron is given to the carrier to control her cycles and ensure her uterus will be ready to receive the embryo(s).
- Your GC will take estrogen to increase the lining of her uterus one week before your egg donor begins injectable gonadotropins. The egg donor will self-administer injections between 8 and 12 days.
- Exactly 36 hours before retrieval, an injection of hCG will be given to your egg donor to induce an LH surge, which will cause the eggs to mature. Our goal is to retrieve 10-20 eggs from your donor.
- The egg retrieval and fertilization will be performed at the LGBT Fertility Center in Frisco, Texas. The embryos will be incubated for 2-5 days. If you and your partner want to utilize preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), it will be conducted during this window of time.
- Embryos will be transferred to your GC on day 5 using a syringe with a flexible catheter through the cervix into the uterine cavity with abdominal ultrasound to ensure exact placement. Excess embryos of good quality will be frozen and can be used if you and your partner wish to have another child or if your carrier does not become pregnant.
- Fourteen days after the embryo transfer, your GC will have a blood test called a quantitative beta hCG. This is test for pregnancy. The goal is a beta hCG of 50 or higher. The test is repeated several times at various intervals to ensure the hCG level is rising appropriately. Results are typically called the same day. *If the pregnancy test is negative, a follow-up visit is scheduled to review the cycle and discuss options.
- A pregnancy ultrasound is scheduled at 7 weeks. The ultrasound is repeated at various time intervals. Once your physician determines that the pregnancy is progressing well (typically at the 8-week visit), we will release your GC to the care of her obstetrician for the duration of her pregnancy.