As a same-sex LGBTQIA+ couple, you may wonder if your dream of a biological family is just a pipe dream. However, if you’re able and willing to explore the world of assisted-reproductive technology (ART), you’ve a good chance of having one or more babies that share your DNA.
At OC Fertility, our cutting-edge fertility experts, Dr. Sharon Moayeri and Dr. Nidhee Sachdev, are devoted to helping you and your partner realize your dreams of a biological child. The following are some options that may help you as an LGBTQIA+ couple start or add to your family.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has been helping couples with fertility struggles finally realize the joy of having their own baby since 1978, when “miracle baby” Joy Louise Brown was born. In the decades since, millions more babies have entered the world thanks to IVF.
If you’re a lesbian or trans-man couple, and at least one of you has a uterus and at least one of you has ovaries, you may be interested in a variation of IVF called reciprocal IVF. In reciprocal IVF, one of you provides eggs for conception, while the other provides a uterus for gestation.
As in traditional IVF, the egg donor must take fertility drugs that make them produce multiple eggs in a single menstrual cycle. We then remove the eggs in a simple procedure and fertilize them with donor sperm in our adjacent IVF lab — CCRM Orange County.
You may choose an anonymous sperm donor. Or, you can ask someone you know to go through our screening and legal procedures for donation.
Once the fertilized eggs develop into embryos, we implant one or more healthy embryos into the other partner’s uterus. That partner is then pregnant with a child who has the first partner’s DNA. Both of you, therefore, help to form the growing child, either with your eggs, or with your blood and nutrients.
If you’re a lesbian or trans-man couple who want a simpler procedure than reciprocal IVF, we may recommend artificial insemination (AI) for one partner. In such a case, we simply inseminate one partner with donor sperm when they ovulate. If conception is successful, then that same partner carries the child to term.
Same-sex male couples who don’t have uteruses or ovaries may opt for gestational surrogacy. In gestational surrogacy, one or both of you donate sperm that is used to fertilize donor eggs. You may choose to use anonymous donor eggs or may use eggs from a friend or family member who’s gone through our screening process.
If your egg donor is also your surrogate, we may be able to fertilize her egg with your sperm through AI. This relatively noninvasive procedure is similar to that of a Pap smear for women.
To increase the chances of conception, however, we may recommend IVF. In this case, your surrogate takes fertility medications so she produces multiple eggs during a single cycle. We then remove them and fertilize them with your sperm, your partner’s sperm, or both. Once they become healthy embryos, we implant one or more in your surrogate’s womb.
Your surrogate then carries your biological child for you until delivery. Surrogates must undergo intense screening to ensure they understand the psychological ramifications of relinquishing all rights to the child they carried for nine months.
Egg or sperm freezing
If you’re about to undergo a transition, but aren’t ready to start your family just yet, you may wish to first freeze your eggs or sperm. That way, they’ll be ready for you and a loving partner when you want to create a child that shares your DNA.
Couples who go through any sort of ART may have “extra” embryos, too. These can be frozen for future use.
If you’re a loving LGBTQIA+ couple who’s ready for a biological family, call us today at 949-706-2229 or book an appointment on our website.