Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples have essentially the same menu of choices in assisted reproductive technologies as straight couples, with some obvious and fundamental differences. Lesbian or gay couples generally are not diagnosed as infertile before using the services of a reproductive clinic. They may enter the reproductive clinic completely fertile and capable of producing fertile eggs or sperm.
A lesbian couple generally will seek a sperm donor, possibly also an egg donor. A gay couple generally will seek an egg donor and gestational surrogate.
Once those choices are made, in consultation with a reproductive specialist, the fertilization proceeds along the same steps – intrauterine insemination, and if unsuccessful, in vitro fertilization (IVF) – generally proceeding with one member of a lesbian couple or with the gestational surrogate for a gay couple.
LGBT individuals also may choose to participate in genetic screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis.
Fertility Testing for Lesbian Couples
Lesbians who suspect they are infertile or want to be tested may choose to undergo a series of female fertility tests and evaluations, including:
- Assessment of fallopian tubes
- Assessment of ovarian reserve
- Use of laparoscopy to diagnose endometriosis
- Uterine fibroids
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
It is recommended that the uterine cavity is proven to be normal by saline infusion sonogram and/or hysteroscopy for the female who will carry the baby.
Fertility Testing for Gay Couples
If either member of a gay couple suspects he suffers from infertility, there are also a range of tests to examine the male factors of infertility and diagnose any possible fertility issues.
It is also essential that the uterine cavity of the gestational carrier to be used by the gay couple is proven to be normal. SMFI offers saline infusion sonogram and hysteroscopy testing options.
Why Choose SMFI?
Dr. Massey has been an advocate of LGBT family building since early in his career, receiving an award from the Feminist Women’s Health Center for his efforts. Similarly, Dr. Servy has been an LGBT family building advocate for the Augusta area.
In addition to their progressive views, SMFI’s physicians are pioneers in infertility treatments and have been leading developments in reproductive medicine for over 30 years. Several techniques and procedures developed by our physicians, in collaboration with leaders and scientists in the U.S. and abroad, are still used today by reproductive endocrinologists across the world.
What Is Co-IVF?
Co-IVF is the option which some lesbian couples are using to share biological and genetic parenthood. One partner is in essence the egg recipient, and the other provides the egg. The egg provider goes through the drugs and stimulation and the egg retrieval process. Eggs are fertilized with sperm from a donor in the laboratory. The embryo or embryos are then replaced into the partner who wishes to carry the baby.
This is usually worked out easily among partners. Typically, lesbian couples know which one wants to play which role. If both of the parties are willing to provide the eggs, then sometimes it is prudent to test the AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone) of both parties. If one has a much higher ovarian reserve, then she should be the egg donor.
That is the medical advice, but of course this ignores the personal preferences of the couple. Those decisions are left to be made by the couple.