LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Modern Family Building, and How Aspire Fertility Can Help
Since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, great strides have been made toward equality by and for members of the LGBTQ+ community. We take the month of June to celebrate these long-lasting achievements, among them being the redefinition of family building. The path to parenthood for members of the LGBTQ+ community has not been easy—and still isn't—even with inclusive and increased access to reproductive care. The journey to parenthood for those in the LGBTQ+ community requires extensive planning and decision-making, therefore, partnering with a clinic such as ours, where patients are met with care unique to their needs, is crucial. To help those in the LGBTQ+ community who are beginning to consider starting a family, we’ve put together a breakdown of common challenges couples face, as well as the technologies that can bring your dreams of a family to fruition.
Family-Building for Same-Sex Couples
When making a baby, you need three things: an egg, sperm, and a uterus. Those in queer relationships may find themselves with only one or two of these essentials, and therefore will need the help of one or several reproductive technologies.
Sperm Donation and IUI
For lesbians starting a family, all is needed is sperm, yet the process is not as simple as it sounds. First, the couple will need to decide who will be carrying the child, and who will be supplying the egg. If one partner is supplying the egg, while the other is carrying, IVF will be necessary. Typically, one partner will do both, meaning no other reproductive intervention is necessary; however, depending on the fertility status of one or both partners, this is not always possible. Additionally, some couples may opt to have one partner provide the egg, while the other carries, to help both parties feel included in the process. Once this decision is made, lesbian couples will need to decide on a sperm donor. Couples can either select sperm from an anonymous donor through a sperm bank, or receive a sample from a friend or non-biological family member. After the sperm sample is obtained, the partner who is carrying the pregnancy will undergo intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the sperm is placed directly into the uterus.
IVF, Egg Donation, and Surrogacy
For gay men, the family-building process is a bit more complicated, as they will need to find both a gestational carrier (surrogate) and an egg donor. A gestational carrier is a woman who carries a pregnancy on behalf of the intended parents and has no relation to the baby being conceived. At Aspire Fertility, those in need of a carrier are connected with a surrogacy agency to help find the right person to carry their child. Once chosen, the gestational carrier will work closely with the couple and doctors to undergo IVF, in which an embryo is implanted into the uterus. The embryo will first need to be created in the lab, using one of the partner’s sperm, and a donated egg, which can be found through an egg bank that works closely with our clinic.
Family Building for Transgender Patients and Couples
Hormonal and surgical treatments for transgender people are known to compromise fertility, therefore fertility preservation is often the best option for those undergoing gender-affirming treatment. Fertility preservation allows one to freeze their sperm, eggs, and/or embryos until it is time to start a family. Whether a trans individual is able to preserve their gametes or not, they will need reproductive assistance, which may include:
- Gestational surrogacy
- Egg donation
- Sperm donation
Depending on an individual’s medical and HRT history, reproductive anatomy, and personal preferences, patients may need a combination of treatment options, or just one.
Every family is created differently, and when it comes to LGBTQ+ family planning, there is no standard route to be taken. If you are a member of the LBGTQ+ community and are hoping to start a family, talk to one of our providers today to learn more about which fertility options are best for you.