Fertility Options for Lesbian Couples
There are two primary treatment options for lesbian couples that would like to have a baby:
- Treatment may be as simple as intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, using donor sperm from an anonymous or known donor.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) using donated sperm for fertilization.
Reciprocal IVF Treatment for Lesbian Couples
Lesbian couples may choose to use the eggs from one partner with the other partner to carry the pregnancy. In this scenario, one partner undergoes ovarian stimulation and surgical retrieval of her eggs for IVF. The embryo is then transferred into her partner’s uterus that has been synchronized with her partner’s cycle.
The Treatment Process for Lesbian Couples
The couple will decide which partner will carry the pregnancy. This partner will proceed with a fertility work-up, which includes blood work on the third day of her period to test hormone levels and an HSG to determine the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes. If the prognosis is good, then the couple will select a sperm donor to be used to achieve the pregnancy.
When using a sperm donor, it is important to note that per CCRM policies in accordance with FDA and ASRM requirements, known sperm donors and gay male couples are required to quarantine sperm. CCRM offers quarantine in-house or with an-FDA approved cryobank.
If IVF is needed, a more complex treatment protocol involving medications will occur. If a partner whose eggs are being used, but will not carry the pregnancy, will also undergo a surgical egg retrieval procedure. The eggs will be inseminated with the donor sperm and once mature, the embryos are placed in the uterus of the woman who will carry and give birth to the baby.
Occasionally lesbian couples need donor eggs to conceive. Donors may include sisters or other family members, friends or anonymous donors.
For more information about LGBTQ Family Building or other fertility treatments, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!
Learn about CCRM’s partnership with Family Equality Council.