Many Ways To Make A Baby

In order to create a baby, both an egg and sperm are needed. However, that doesn’t mean same-sex couples can’t have a child. Whether the combination is 2 men or 2 women, assisted reproductive technology (ART) options exist to help achieve a healthy pregnancy. With the assistance of an egg or sperm donor, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a popular route to choose.


Starting with IUI

When deciding to pursue fertility treatment, the 2 main approaches to choose from include intrauterine insemination (IUI) and IVF. With IUI, a sperm sample is collected, cleaned, and consolidated before being inserted into the uterus with a catheter. For female same-sex couples, a sperm donor would be needed. The female partner who plans to carry to pregnancy is often given medications to increase the chances of success. Couples comprised of 2 men can choose which individual will provide the sperm sample, considering both personal preference and health history. A surrogate would then undergo IUI and carry the pregnancy to term.

Maximize success with IVF

Although IUI can be effective, IVF is considered the gold standard of fertility treatment with higher levels of success. During IVF, an egg and sperm sample are combined in a lab to create an embryo. The embryo is then transferred back into the uterus at an optimal time in the cycle. Lesbian couples will again require a sperm donor, while gay men will need to decide who is providing the sperm sample and select a surrogate to carry the pregnancy. For female same-sex couples, reciprocal IVF is an option where a woman donates the egg, and another woman carries the pregnancy, allowing both parties to be involved in the pregnancy.

What about fertility problems?

In addition to needing a donor or surrogate to achieve pregnancy, gay and lesbian couples can also experience personal fertility struggles. Women may have poor egg quality or quantity. In this case, certain medications may be prescribed to increase the chances of successful ovulation during treatment. For older women in particular, add-on ART procedures such as preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) can be performed to identify the healthiest embryos. Gay men with low sperm counts may benefit from making healthy lifestyle choices such as maintaining a healthy weight, working out, and eating healthy. In more extreme situations of low count, testicular sperm aspiration (TESA) can be performed to retrieve sperm.

When 2 donors are required

In some cases, both an egg and sperm donor may be required to achieve a pregnancy for same-sex couples. If older age, underlying health issues, or medication use has impacted fertility, and neither individual can provide a sample, a donor can help. Additionally, for some same-sex couples, the decision about choosing who will be the biological parent can be difficult, as the other partner will have no genetic connection with the baby. A donor, selected together, can help circumvent this problem. Choosing a separate egg donor and sperm donor is an option, but embryo adoption is another approach worth exploring.

Growing a family is possible

With ART, a baby is possible for same-sex couples. Depending on the exact situation, the fertility doctor will walk the couple through donor options and the best fertility treatment to achieve a pregnancy. Growing a family may not happen overnight, but with the proper planning and scientific assistance, same-sex couples can achieve the dream of having kids.

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