While planning a family can be stressful for many reasons, LGBTQ couples in particular face many other challenges they must consider. If you have started the process or don’t know where to begin, you may have some questions. To help get your search started, we’ve put together a list of 4 common family planning questions for LGBTQ couples.
The steps needed to successfully plan an LGBTQ family are as unique as the couples trying to conceive. Choosing a donor or deciding who will carry the baby are very important points of consideration that need to be discussed. These topics can be thoroughly noted between the couple and a knowledgeable fertility specialist. So, to begin your journey to conception let’s start by covering some basics.
How to Time Your Pregnancy
Often overlooked, an important aspect of planning an LGBTQ family is timing. From the time you start looking into fertility treatment options to when you meet potential gestational carrier, a year can easily have passed by. Because of this, it is important you incorporate this planning phase into your schedule. Understanding that this is a time sensitive and relatively consuming process will give you more reasonable expectations for the results. If you are considering carrying the child yourself, allowing time for medical screening and hormone treatment are essential as insemination may take a couple of attempts before successful conception. For transgender patients who have not undergone gender-affirming surgery but are considering fertilizing or carrying the baby, temporarily stopping the use of hormone therapy should be discussed with your doctor during your initial consultation.
What Option is Best for Us?
Couples looking to carry the baby themselves have a few options for contraception. The first option is through donor insemination (DI). This procedure inseminates an ovulating woman with the sperm of a man who is not her intimate partner. Donor insemination is an option utilized by both hetero and homosexual couples where there is an extremely low or no sperm count. Because no sperm from the couple is involved, couples without male partners can also consider this treatment.
Similar to DI, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) does not require a male partner and can be achieved through a donor. IVF is the process of retrieving viable eggs and fertilizing them outside of the body. Once the egg(s) are fertilized into embryos, genetic testing can be performed to screen for which embryo is chromosomally normal, which helps increase pregnancy success rates. The embryo is then placed back into the uterus for implantation and later live birth.
How Do I Navigate Using a Gestational Carrier?
While lesbian couples have the potential of conceiving their baby themselves, gay couples must rely on an egg donor and a gestational carrier to carry the child to term. Egg donors are women who donate fertile eggs to couples in need through either an egg bank or from a personal connection. Gestational carriers differ from egg donors in the sense that they do not share any DNA with the child, but still gestate and deliver the baby.
How Do I Choose an Egg or Sperm Donor?
Selecting the right egg or sperm donor can be a challenge. Most couples try to select someone based on appearance, education and professional background. South Jersey Fertility Center offers over 50 fresh egg donors to our patients to choose from. If you are interested in frozen donor eggs, South Jersey Fertility has their own bank and a partnership with My Egg Bank. Donor sperm can be shipped from various reputable sperm banks such as Cryobiology, Seattle Sperm Bank, California Cryobank or Fairfax Cryobank.
LGBTQ Family Planning in New Jersey
If you or someone you know is struggling with fertility related questions then you are in the right place. With almost 30 years of helping LGBTQ couples conceive, the experienced staff at South Jersey Fertility Center is here to help. We take every family’s needs into consideration and create a plan that works best for them. Check out our LGBTQ Family Building page to learn more about how you can plan your family today and find answers to additional fertility questions. With locations across the state, schedule your visit and contact South Jersey Fertility Center today to learn how we can make your dreams of starting a family come true.