Honoring Pride Month with LGBTQ+ Families
June is Pride Month in the U.S., which honors the LGBTQ+ community across the country. Aspire Fertility is a firm ally of LGBTQ+ causes, including family building. This year, while some Pride events may be in-person and some virtual, we want to support the community as much as we can and always have.
In recent years, growing LGBTQ+ families through donor eggs, donor sperm, fertility treatments, and surrogacy has been one of the highlights of our profession. In honor of Pride Month, we wanted to provide an overview of how Aspire Fertility works with same-sex couples and individuals who need third-party reproduction.
Donated sperm is commonly needed for same-sex female couples. The sperm donor can be a family member or a close friend, or it can come from a sperm bank where the donor’s identity will remain anonymous. Once a donor is selected, the couple will need to decide who will carry the pregnancy. Some same-sex female couples choose to have one partner’s eggs be used for embryo creation while the other partner carries the pregnancy, thus allowing both to take part in the family-building process.
Same-sex male couples will need to work with an egg donor who can also be a family member, a close friend, or someone selected from an egg bank. Donors from an egg bank are typically anonymous unless both parties agree to know the donor’s identity. Donor profiles normally provide information like the donor’s physical characteristics, family background, education, general interests, and sometimes a personal essay.
For same-sex male couples, a gestational surrogate is required as part of the family-building process. Surrogates are matched with intended parents after a careful screening process across all parties to ensure that a high-quality match is in place. Agreements per the level of communication and how involved the intended parents will be throughout the pregnancy take place prior to a match moving forward.
In third-party reproduction, the two most common forms of fertility treatment used are intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). IUI is normally used for same-sex female couples who have already located a sperm donor and determined which partner will carry the pregnancy. If the partner carrying the pregnancy is the same one whose eggs will be used, then IUI will be performed. If one partner is providing the eggs and another is carrying the pregnancy, then IVF will be needed to create the embryo in a laboratory setting, which will later be implanted. IVF is also used in surrogacy arrangements for the same purpose.
LGBTQ+ family-building efforts have expanded and, thanks to an increase in favorable laws across the country, have become more readily available. Aspire Fertility is an ally of all growing families all year round, and we stand with the LGBTQ+ during Pride Month.