Movies have convinced us that relationships are easy and conceiving doesn’t require planning. In fact, many of us grew up thinking it happens with ease. On the contrary, family planning is becoming more common as individuals and couples wait longer to have kids.
But family planning is not one-size-fits-all. In addition to helping heterosexual couples, we are also fortunate to help LGBTQ couples start their family planning as well. In fact, our own Dr. Brad Trivax works as an advocate for the LGBT (Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Transgendered) community, a supporter of the Family Equality Council, a board member of Path2Parenthood, and has helped hundreds of LGBT couples and individuals start their families.
Family planning for female LGBT couples is different than for male LGBT couples. Below are some of the options for them if they would like to carry their own child, rather than use a surrogate or adopt.
1. Artificial Insemination (AI)
During AI, a woman has donor sperm placed into either her uterus or cervix by a fertility specialist, depending on the type of procedure she chooses (IUI or ICI). The process requires the patient to have a regular menstrual cycle, which her doctor tracks. The insemination will occur when she is in the fertile phase of her cycle. Their fertility specialist will help them determine what kind of sperm donor they want to choose - a known donor, such as a friend or an anonymous donor from a sperm bank.
2. IVF with one person’s egg and uterus
When a patient decides on taking the IVF route, she meets with a fertility specialist who takes her through a course of treatment that causes her ovaries to produce multiple eggs at one time. Afterwards, the eggs are removed from the patient and inseminated in a laboratory with donor sperm. When embryos are formed, they are placed back into the patient's uterus. In order to take this route she does have to have a series of screenings performed in order to make sure the patient is healthy enough to undergo treatment.
3. Reciprocal IVF
During this course of action, one woman’s eggs are used to create embryos. She does have to go through ovarian stimulation to produce eggs, while her partner who will carry the baby is required to take medication in order to prepare her uterus to be ready to house the embryos.
If you and your partner are ready to start family planning in the New York area, call the Island Fertility office to schedule your appointment to further explore your options to determine which one is best for the future of your family. You can reach us at 631.638.4600.