LGBT Family Building

Family Building Options for LGBT Couples

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine is proud to help gay, lesbian and transgender individuals create the family of their dreams.  Same-sex and transgender couples face different fertility options and issues than heterosexual couples who can attempt conception without any medical help. Typically, Lesbian couples require an outside source of sperm while gay men require both eggs and a carrier for the pregnancy.

All patients will have an initial consultation with their physician to discuss their medical history, potential treatment and financial options. The next step is diagnostic testing to discover the level of fertility in either partner. Once testing is complete, our medical team will develop a protocol and treatment can begin.

All couples using a 3rd party for reproduction, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are required to have a psychological consultation. The purpose of this meeting is for education and support and is not in any way an evaluation. This informative meeting is primarily focused on how to best support you and your future child around the issues of donor/ gestation carrier conception.

Our treatment options include: donor sperm insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation and gestational carrier services. In addition, egg cryopreservation is available to preserve fertility for same-sex couples. Thanks to the availability of effective fertility procedures, same-sex couples have an excellent chance of achieving pregnancy.

Fertility Treatment for Lesbian Couples

For lesbian couples, treatment may be as simple as intrauterine insemination (IUI) using donor sperm from an anonymous or known donor. For women with diminished ovarian reserve, tubal, or pelvic factors, IVF may provide the best chance for pregnancy. Before undergoing any treatment procedures, all women should be evaluated to identify any factors that may interfere with conception. Once this fertility evaluation is complete, an individualized treatment plan is prescribed.

Lesbian couples may choose to use the eggs from one woman and allow her partner 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.

Fertility Treatment for Gay Couples

Gay men planning to build a family through fertility treatments will meet with their physician to discuss the details of using an egg donor and gestational carrier. The partner wishing to use his sperm will undergo a semen analysis to test volume, concentration, motility, and morphology of the sperm.

Egg donors may be a family member, friend, or an anonymous volunteer screened by our staff. The age of the egg donor is one of the most important factors affecting the outcome of IVF. Because fertility declines with age, the donor should ideally be between the ages of 19-33. Once selected, the donor will undergo an intensive screening that includes medical, psychological, genetic and infectious disease tests, and also meet with an independent reproductive attorney.

In accordance with requirements by the US FDA and CCRM, known sperm donors and gay male couples must quarantine sperm for 6 months/180 days prior to use in an infertility treatment cycle. Persons undergoing quarantine must have medical, psychological and infectious disease testing prior to collecting and freezing sperm. This series of tests must be completed again after 6 months/180 days in an effort to reduce complications for a gestational carrier. Couples must use a CCRM-approved cryobank to ensure the testing and cryopreservation of sperm is performed with the highest standards. On average, the entire process of quarantine can take 7-9 months depending on how quickly you can complete testing.

CCRM does not currently provide gestational carriers, but your medical team can refer you to agencies and attorneys who specialize in identifying gestational carriers.

Fertility Treatment for Transgender Couples

All transgender persons must discontinue exogenous hormones before embarking on reproduction, though how long before is unknown at this time. After discontinuing these hormones, the time needed to return to fertility is variable, and may be irreversible.  The various courses of treatments available vary depending on with whom they are in a relationship with and what gametes are needed for reproduction.

For transwomen (male to female) the options for preservation of fertility include sperm cryopreservation. Transwomen may undergo intrauterine insemination of the female partner.  In vitro fertilization may also be recommended using partner or donor eggs or sperm and/or the partner’s uterus or gestational carrier.

For transmen (female to male), fertility options, include oocyte and/or embryo cryopreservation/vitrification using partner or donor sperm. Transmen may undergo intrauterine insemination using partner or donor sperm or may require IVF using his own,partner or donor eggs.  Embryo’s may be transferred into his own uterus, his partner’s uterus or into a gestational surrogate.

If you have any questions or wish to schedule a consultation with a physician, please call (303) 647-4929 or click here.