LGBTQ Family Building

The team at the Reproductive Medicine & Surgery Center of Virginia (RMSCVA) were innovative pioneers from the start, and this includes the pioneering of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals and couples in Virginia.

Until recently, adoption felt like the only alternative for LGBTQ individuals or couples wanting to have children. Today, there are a wealth of fertility options allowing you to have a more personal, biologic and intimate connection with the conception, pregnancy and birth of your child.

ART for Virginia’s LGBTQ Community

And guess what? Assuming you or your partner do not have any existing infertility diagnoses, your success rates for these potential fertility options are notably higher than national averages.

The first step is to contact a fertility clinic specializing in LGBTQ fertility treatments. In addition to providing a more welcoming and inclusive experience, you know you’re growing family is in the best hands – right from the start. We highly recommend that all LGBTQ clients utilizing their own sperm, eggs or bodies to create a baby go through the entire fertility testing spectrum. This allows us to make the best choices – and to waste the least amount of time – in choosing the ideal fertility treatment for your situation.

Please feel free to contact our center online to schedule your first consultation, or give us a call at (434) 654-8520. We have some of the best IVF rates in the region, and our highly experienced, team-oriented staff is known for their understanding, compassionate and personalized approach. We look forward to meeting you – and your future bundle of joy.

Fertility options for lesbians

The majority of the fertility options for lesbians or transgender men involve the use of donor sperm. You are welcome to use sperm from a known donor, but we are also happy to facilitate sperm donation from one of several local and nationally-recognized sperm banks.

From there, most women opt to use one of the following options to get pregnant.

Traditional IUI (artificial insemination). What was once referred to as artificial insemination is now more commonly called intrauterine insemination, or IUI. This method is one of the simplest and most affordable ways to get pregnant for women who are under the age of 35, and who menstruate regularly.

IVF

If you are over the age of 35-years, IUI is still an option but it can take more cycles to achieve pregnancy success. If you are 38-years or more, we recommend skipping IUI altogether and moving on to IVF to improve your chances of success in fewer treatment cycles. If one partner clearly wants to carry and give birth to their children and the other doesn’t, we’ll use your donor’s sperm and retrieved eggs to create embryos. When you’re ready, we’ll transfer the embryo’s into the uterus of the mother opting to carry the baby(ies) and cross our finger for the two-week wait.

Reciprocal IVF

If you and your partner want to deepen your biologic and physical involvement in the pregnancy and birth experience, you have the option of reciprocal IVF. The two of you can decide who will donate the egg, and who will carry the baby this time around. Then, using the same type of protocol as we do for IVF, we’ll take the donor partner’s eggs and fertilize them. Once embryos are created, we’ll transfer them into the partner choosing to carry the baby to term. This process can be switched for future pregnancies if desired.

Egg Banking

If you are a lesbian or transgender man approaching your mid-30s and you haven’t found the right life partner, egg freezing (or egg banking) is a viable means of preserving your fertility future. Once you meet “The One,” and are ready to start your family, we can unfreeze and fertilize the eggs for use via IVF. If you are a transgender male, it’s best to freeze your eggs prior to taking hormones or participating in more invasive aspects of your surgical transition.

Fertility options for gay couples

For gay couples, IVF is the most typical route to get pregnant and have a baby. In your case, you have the option of using one man’s sperm, mixing both sperm together, or taking turns donating sperm for successive pregnancies.  Some gay couples opt to use donor sperm depending on their personal preferences or due to poor sperm count or quality.

Sperm freezing

If you are a transgender female planning to transition completely, you can freeze and store sperm samples to be used in the future to conceive your children. It’s best to do this prior to taking hormones or pursuing more invasive aspects of your physical transition.

IUI or IVF and surrogate carriers

Gay couples also require a donor egg and a gestational carrier – a woman willing to go through IUI or IVF to get pregnant.  A “traditional surrogate” means the woman carrying the baby will be using her own eggs, and this means IUI is typically the route used to conceive a baby. This option is more complicated from a legal standpoint.

A “gestational surrogate” undergoes IVF – using an embryo conceived via donor egg and your sperm of choice. This way, she has no genetic ties to the baby. For this reason, gestational surrogates are the preferred option for most gay men desiring to start a family.

Fertility options for transgender men and women

Depending on the degree to which a transgender man or woman has completed their transition, all of the same types of fertility treatments used by lesbian, gay and hetero couples are options for facilitating conception, pregnancy and birth.

This includes:

  • Sperm, egg or embryo donation
  • IUI
  • IVF
  • Egg and/or sperm donation
  • Embryo donation
  • Gestational or surrogate carriers
  • Egg or sperm freezing (as mentioned above, transgender men and women have the option to freeze eggs or sperm frozen prior to transitioning to preserve their future fertility).

The team at Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Center of Virginia looks forward to meeting you and establishing whether our LGBTQ fertility services makes the most sense for your family-building plans. Contact us to schedule your first consultation.

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