Medically speaking, same sex couples can experience some of the same issues that heterosexual couples face such as sperm quality, egg quality, issues related to age and overall reproductive health. The bottom-line is, the sooner you seek treatment, the greater your chances are for success.
Depending upon age and your reproductive health you and your FCI doctor may choose to begin with a less evasive, more natural approach. This may include Ovulation Induction (OI) or Artificial Insemination (AI) via intrauterine insemination (IUI).
- Ovulation Induction
The therapeutic use of female hormones to stimulate egg development and release. Useful hormones and hormone-based medications include clomiphene citrate, HCG, Gonal-F, Menopur, Follistim, Repronex, and Bravelle.
- Artificial Insemination
The introduction of specially prepared sperm directly into the uterus through the cervix. Sperm may be from a male partner or from a donor.
- Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
Any procedure that involves mixing of the egg and sperm to induce fertilization outside of the body.
- In Vitro Fertilization
A procedure in which one or more eggs, each removed from a ripe follicle, is fertilized by a sperm outside the human body.
- Reciprocal IVF
This procedure allows women in lesbian relationship to each feel like they have a biological tie to the child by using the eggs from one partner and the womb of the other.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
This procedure is used in conjunction with IVF and is a procedure in which one or more eggs, each removed from a ripe follicle, is fertilized outside the body by injecting one sperm directly into each egg. If fertilization occurs, the embryo(s) are transferred into the uterus.
- Egg Donation
The process in which eggs, removed from the ovaries of one woman, are donated for use by another. The donor receives medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. At the same time, the recipient or intended mother would receive medications to prepare her body for conception. The egg would be fertilized in the laboratory through IVF and transferred to the recipient’s uterus.
The egg donor may be known or selected through an egg donation agency. At FCI, we have our own in-house egg donor program that follows very strict FDA guidelines to ensure that you receive properly screened and tested eggs from health donors. Our donors undergo intensive screening that includes medical, genetic, STD (sexually transmitted diseases), and psychological testing.
- Sperm Donation
Sperm Donation refers to the donation of sperm with the intention that it will be used to impregnate a woman in order to produce a child. Sperm donors can be anonymous or known. The FDA only requires that anonymous donors be screened for certain STD’s and other risk factors. However, FCI adheres to the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), requiring that even know donors go through the testing process.
- Embryo Freezing
Cryopreservation, also known as freezing, is the storing of embryos at very low temperatures so that they can be thawed and used at a later time. At FCI, all embryos are cryopreserved through a process called Vitrification. This process is superior to traditional freezing methods because it allows cooling of the embryo to be done much faster, avoiding the formation of ice crystals that cause damage to the cell.
There are many agencies available to help you through the process of selecting a surrogate mother. These agencies will also help you to identify and obtain proper legal advice. There are two types of surrogacy:
Surrogacy in which the woman who will carry the pregnancy contributes her own eggs to be fertilized with the sperm and will share a genetic link to the child. In this case, conception is achieved through IUI.
Surrogacy in which donor eggs and sperm are used to make embryos that are transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. In these cases, the surrogate has no genetic bond to the child. When donor eggs are used, IVF is recommended.
There are several options for same-sex couples who choose to adopt. At FCI, we work with some of the areas’ most reputable and respected adoption agencies. It is very important to understand the laws in your state. It may be helpful to know that each state carries its own laws for same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child. However, all states must recognize out-of-state adoptions regardless of legal status in that particular state.
Types of adoptions include:
- State/public agency adoption
- Agency-open adoption
- Open-independent adoption
- International adoption
Finding a Fertility Clinic
The last step for a LGBT couple considering fertility treatment options is to locate a trusted fertility clinic, like Fertility Centers of Illinois. FCI will help hopeful parents locate donors and ensure a partner’s candidacy for a specific procedure.
Are you ready to start a family of your own? Call Fertility Centers of Illinois at (877) 499-8730 for more information about your fertility options.