LGBT family planning is unique for each couple when it comes to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Gay family building is not as complicated as it used to be, because modern technology has created multiple ways for them to become parents.
Reproductive Sciences Medical Center is a fertility agency, in San Diego, which specializes in providing solutions for LGBT family planning that includes same-sex surrogacy as well as gay and lesbian family building opportunities.
LGBT Family Building with Known Sperm
There are many benefits of family planning for gay men via a third party.
For example, either male’s sperm can be used to provide a genetic component for the child. If neither of the male’s sperm is of good quality, then donor sperm is always an option.
In gay family building, often both partners produce sperm. One man fertilizes half of the eggs while the other partner fertilizes the remaining eggs. One embryo is taken from each man’s sperm and implanted into the surrogate’s uterus. If pregnancy occurs, a paternity test is recommended to see which partner is genetically related to the child, after birth.
Most men prefer this method but there’s a ‘competitive’ aspect to it. Reproductive Sciences Medical Center recommends using one man’s sperm for the first child and the other partners sperm for the second child.
If a man tests positive for infectious diseases, including HIV, his sperm can be washed of all traces at a washing center. However, it’s necessary to get the gestational carriers consent for this procedure.
Understand Your Choices Surrounding Egg Donors
When it comes to egg donors, there are many options. Some couples choose the sister of the non-sperm donor, providing a genetic link to both intended parents.
Egg donors can also choose to remain anonymous. The egg donor remains unknown to the Intended Parents and the future child.
There can also be an “Open door” policy. This allows a child, once they have turned 18, to contact a lawyer to access the donor’s information. It’s up to the egg donor to decide whether to meet the child in person, by phone or email, or remain anonymous.
Gay Surrogacy with a Surrogate Mother Agency
A gestational carrier is usually the best option when it comes to same sex surrogacy. It is recommended to get a surrogate mother through a surrogacy agency. The reason behind this recommendation is that they are pre-screened using psychological, medical and background checks. If the potential surrogate is married, her husband is also tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Legal representation is also recommended for both parties. The Intended Parents and gestational carrier have their own lawyers who create the contract terms to agree upon. Contracts cover a variety of stipulations like: Will the gestational carrier carry a singleton or twins? What happens if the baby is born with abnormalities? Who is in control of carrier’s diet? How much contact can be made between the couple and gestational carrier? Will she be compensated additionally if bed rest is required and she cannot work? What will the compensation amount be?
In special cases, where the couple finds their own carrier, they must negotiate directly with their surrogate to come to an agreement. It is also common for Intended Parents to purchase an insurance policy at the beginning of the surrogacy cycle. The gestational carrier uses her own policy during pregnancy and for birth.
Gay men or couples usually have an ongoing relationship with their gestational carrier during the pregnancy and in many cases even after the delivery. They tend to visit the carrier’s house if she lives nearby. If not, email or skype is also an option. By being present at the time of delivery gay couples’ bond immediately with their new born child.
Understanding the Family Building Process
Upon selecting an egg donor and gestational carrier, both are given blood and urine tests to identify any infectious disease at that time. Even the man’s sperm is analyzed, and the carrier’s uterus is tested.
There’s an option available to freeze the sperm, if the donor is travelling or for some reason thinks he won’t be able to produce sperm on the day of egg retrieval to fertilize the eggs.
If the eggs have been donated, they are thawed the day before the cycle begins. Otherwise, the egg donation process begins while the carrier prepares her uterus to accept them.
On a selected day, sperm is thawed or produced, eggs are fertilized, and the embryo is transferred. The rest are frozen, for a repeat try or future siblings.
A pregnancy test is done a week and half after the transfer. If the test is positive, a blood test and ultrasound are conducted. Lawyers will have already worked out all the pre-adoption paperwork, but requirements vary by state. States like California, Pennsylvania and Connecticut are adoption friendly while others like New York are notoriously difficult.
Family Building for Lesbians
Women who choose this route often use donor sperm, with one partner selected for artificial insemination. The selection depends on the condition of both women’s ovaries. Generally, one woman will carry the first child, while her partner will carry the next.
If both women want to be genetically related to the child, then one women’s family member can donate his sperm while the other carries the pregnancy.
Third-party family planning is comparatively less difficult for women than men, but legal contracts must be place in case of a future dispute between the birth mother and her partner.
The landscape for gay couples wishing to start their own family has changed. Reproductive Sciences Medical Center is here to guide you throughout your journey. If you would like to explore your options, you can always visit us at www.fertile.com or call at (858) 215-6940 to schedule a free consultation.