Family Planning For All Couples

Having children and building a family is a lifelong goal for many people. While many issues can arise that make conceiving difficult, the family dream can be much more difficult for same-sex couples. Understanding all of the options available, as well as determining which solution is not just economically viable but possible, is important. Below are a few of the reproductive options available to LGBTQ+ couples.

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Lesbian couples have options

For couples made up of 2 women, a few options exist for pregnancy. Surrogacy, where a third-party woman supplies an egg, and donor sperm is used, is a solution if neither partner wants to carry the pregnancy or be genetically related. Another option is for 1 member of the lesbian couple to supply an egg for fertilization with donor sperm and use a gestational carrier. The process involves finding a woman who is willing to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have an embryo transfer performed. Reciprocal IVF is another option where 1 partner supplies the egg while the other carries the embryo. However, donor sperm will be needed.

Pregnancy for trans couples

A recent study looked into sperm quality in transgender women who underwent hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to transition. The study found that in a cohort of 212 transgender women, 177 of which provided semen samples, individuals that underwent HRT had lower sperm counts. The study encouraged fertility preservation before hormone treatments. Doing so would allow a trans couple to conceive a baby using personal eggs and sperm rather than from donor sources. A trans couple can also opt for surrogacy.

Surrogacy for gay couples

For couples made up of 2 men, surrogacy or seeking a gestational carrier are the only options for conceiving a child. Regardless of the method selected, many states have specific guidelines to ensure that the process is handled correctly and that the rights of prospective parents, surrogates, and gestational carriers are protected. In most cases, hopeful gay couples should contact surrogacy matching programs and consider retaining legal counsel for added peace of mind.

Adopting or fostering

While often viewed as a simpler alternative to attempting pregnancy through artificial reproductive therapies (ART), adopting or fostering children can also be an intensive process. Although applying to be a foster parent is somewhat easier than adopting, the experience can still be emotional. Couples unable to conceive or afford the larger expense associated with ART solutions might want to consider adoption or fostering.

Many ways to be a parent

Becoming a parent doesn’t have to look the same for every couple. Nowadays, couples of all styles can build a family thanks to fertility preservation, gestational carriers, surrogacy, and even adoption or fostering. While opting for ART solutions can be pricey, couples should know that grants are available to support members of the LGBTQ+ community to become parents. Consider speaking with a fertility specialist or family planning advocate to understand all possible options.

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