Choices for Lesbian Couples
Nearly 35% of female spousal couples in the U.S. are raising children45
Before you agree to undergo any kind of treatment, take some time to talk to your healthcare provider about its likelihood of success and its risks. You may also wish to inquire about a timeline for each type of treatment.
If fertility testing reveals an ovulatory problem, a doctor may prescribe fertility medications. A fertility specialist, also known as a Reproductive Endocrinologist, may recommend prescription medications to treat ovulatory disorders, which are given in the form of oral medications or injections.
This may be used in combination with intrauterine insemination (IUI), described as a type of artificial insemination.
AI is a procedure in which the healthcare provider inserts the male partner’s or donor’s sperm directly into a woman’s reproductive tract. A common AI procedure is intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the healthcare provider inserts sperm directly into the uterus near the time of ovulation. The healthcare provider may also consider cervical insemination, when semen is released through a soft catheter to the cervical opening.47
ART is the umbrella term for a variety of medical procedures used to bring eggs and sperm together without sexual intercourse.
For lesbian couples, egg donation involves one woman (a donor) “donating” her eggs to another woman. IVF is performed in the usual manner, except that the donor receives fertility medications to stimulate the production of multiple eggs in her ovaries. The eggs are then fertilized in a laboratory and depending on the doctor’s experience and the woman’s medical situation, one or some of any resulting embryos may be transferred into the recipient’s uterus.
For women utilizing donor sperm, it’s important to know that anonymous sperm donation is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Sperm donors are required to be tested for certain infections and also may need to meet other criteria as determined by the sperm bank.51
Cryopreservation, also known as “freezing,” involves storing embryos at a very low temperature so they can be thawed and used later. Many fertility clinics now offer this option, and some clinics have begun to offer egg freezing as well.
Surrogacy agencies are available to recruit, screen, and educate the surrogate mother, refer partners to established egg donor agencies and fertility centers, and provide legal advice. The agency can also give emotional guidance and support during the treatment process.
There are two types of surrogacy: