CCRM prides itself on helping individuals and couples of all sexual orientations have the families they want. If you are a man in a same-sex relationship hoping to build a family, you may wonder what options are available to you, and what the process looks like.
In order to conceive a child, we will use you or your partner’s sperm in combination with an egg donated by an egg donor. The egg will be fertilized by in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the embryo will be carried by a gestational carrier. The partner wishing to use his sperm will undergo a semen analysis to test the viability of the sperm for use.
We routinely recommend Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (or ICSI) for the fertilization step. A single sperm is injected into the center of the egg under the microscope and this will result in making sure that an egg is likely to be fertilized. Even men with no sperm in their semen can father a pregnancy if the urologist extracts sperm from the man’s epididymis or testicle for use in IVF. The success rate with this technique varies considerably among IVF programs; however, CCRM has been noted in academic journals for its exceptional success with ICSI.
Egg donors may be a family member, friend, or an anonymous woman available thru an egg donor agency. The egg donor’s age is one of the most important factors affecting success of IVF, so the donor should ideally be between 19-33 years old. Once selected, the donor will undergo an intensive screening by CCRM fertility care team that includes medical, psychological, genetic and infectious disease tests. Frequently, an egg donor is also advised to meet with an independent reproductive attorney.
We don’t currently provide gestational carriers, but your CCRM fertility care team can refer you to agencies and attorneys who specialize in identifying gestational carriers.
In accordance with requirements by the U.S. FDA and CCRM, semen must be quarantined for 6 months/180 days at a CCRM-approved sperm bank prior to use in an infertility treatment cycle. The person undergoing quarantine must have FDA required medical, psychological and infectious disease testing prior to collecting and freezing sperm. This series of tests and examination must be repeated again after 6 months/180 days before the semen is allowed to be utilized to father a pregnancy in a gestational carrier. On average, the entire process of quarantine can take 7-9 months depending on how quickly you can complete testing.
Once this process is complete, the egg donor will undergo ovarian stimulation to have eggs retrieved. The IVF laboratory at CCRM will fertilize those eggs with your or your partner’s sperm and the resulting embryo will be placed in the womb (uterus) of the gestational carrier and hopefully the embryo will successfully implant. When the embryo implants successfully, the gestational carrier will carry your child through the entire pregnancy until your child is born.
We are delighted in the opportunity to offer advanced fertility care to enable male couples to conceive a child, and fulfill their dream of a family successfully.
Dr. Salli Tazuke is the Co-Founder and Co-Medical Director of CCRM San Francisco