LGBTQ+ Paths to Parenthood

IHR Offers a Variety of Fertility Services for LGBTQ+ Families

At IHR, we understand that everyone’s journey to parenthood is unique. We are committed to providing inclusive and specialized fertility treatments, keeping in mind the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community. Explore our dedicated treatment options designed to support lesbians, gay men, and transgender individuals and couples on their journey to building their families.

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Treatment Options for Lesbians

At IHR, we offer many fertility treatment options for lesbian couples or two egg providers to realize their dreams of parenthood. These include intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and reciprocal IVF. With any of these treatment options, lesbian couples will typically use donor sperm, to build their family.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI): IUI, also known as artificial insemination, involves placing sperm directly into the uterus. This method makes it easier for the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg. With IUI, the partner who will carry the pregnancy will be inseminated with sperm from a donor.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): IVF allows doctors to retrieve eggs from one partner, fertilize the egg with donor sperm, and place the resulting embryo into the uterus. With this method, the couple must decide who will carry the pregnancy and choose a sperm donor.

Reciprocal IVF: Reciprocal IVF follows the same process as traditional IVF, with the added benefit of enabling both partners to be a part of the conception process. With this method, one partner will provide the eggs for the pregnancy, and after fertilization, the resulting embryo will be transferred to the other partner’s uterus. This often provides couples with a shared sense of biological connection.

Donor Sperm: With two egg providers, a couple will need to use a sperm donor to proceed with their pregnancy. A sperm donor can be someone known to the couple, or an anonymous donor identified through a sperm bank. To make things easier for our patients, we have established partnerships with many reputable donor sperm agencies; however, patients are free to choose their own sperm bank.

Treatment Options for Gay Men

Gay men or couples with two sperm providers looking to use fertility treatments to grow their family will typically utilize in vitro fertilization (IVF) with donor egg, and a gestational carrier (surrogate). Couples with two men can also choose to do split cycle IVF, where both partners provide sperm and embryos are created from each partner. In addition to our treatment options, we provide access to an in-house egg bank, which streamlines the treatment process for our patients.

In Vitro Fertilization: Before starting IVF, sperm testing will be done on whichever partner’s sperm will be used in the pregnancy. Couples choosing to do split cycle IVF will undergo sperm testing for both partners.  After testing is complete, the couple will choose an egg donor and a surrogate to carry the pregnancy. The eggs are then fertilized in the lab with one partner’s sperm and transferred to the surrogate.

In split cycle IVF, the donor eggs are split into two groups and each group is fertilized with one partner’s sperm. Then, one egg from each group will be selected and transferred to a surrogate. This option allows couples to have children genetically related to each partner. When using the same egg donor for these cycles, families can benefit from this shared connection. At IHR, we practice single embryo transfers, which means pregnancies are carried by more than one gestational surrogate, or the same surrogate in subsequent pregnancies.

Donor Egg: Your journey as a couple with two sperm providers will require the help of an egg donor to build your family. Egg donors can be someone related to or known to the intended parents or chosen from an egg bank. The intended parents may choose an egg donor based on their personal preferences and requirements, such as physical characteristics, education, and health. IHR partners with many reputable agencies and egg banks to help patients find the right fit for their families.

IHR is proud to be a part of the Pinnacle Fertility network, which means our patients have access to Pinnacle Egg Bank. This is an egg donor program with diverse, medically approved egg donors that have undergone extensive screening. You can access our egg donor database by registering with Pinnacle Egg Bank

Gestational Surrogacy: The gestational carrier, commonly referred to as a surrogate, is not biologically related to the child. With gay men, embryos are created using donor eggs and the sperm from the intended parent(s). They will then be transferred into the gestational carrier’s (surrogate) uterus, where the baby will develop as with any other pregnancy. With this method, the baby will be biologically related to the partner whose sperm was used.

As a patient within the Pinnacle Fertility network, you will get exclusive access to Pinnacle Surrogacy, a large network of high-quality, thoroughly screened, and passionate surrogates available for expedited matching ensuring a smooth process. 

Treatment Options for Transgender Couples and Individuals

IHR has a variety of options for transgender couples and individuals hoping to build their families. We are here to help you on your journey to parenthood, whether you’re thinking about building your family or preserving fertility before starting gender-affirming treatment.

Fertility Preservation

Before undergoing gender-affirming treatments such as hormone therapy or surgery, trans individuals can explore fertility preservation options with IHR, such as sperm freezing or egg freezing to preserve fertility and the possibility of biological parenthood in the future.

For Those Who Are Not Taking Hormones and Ready to Start Their Path to Parenthood

If you are not taking hormones and have not had gender-affirming surgery, there are a few different treatment paths to consider. For people with eggs, this includes intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and reciprocal IVF. For people with sperm, options may change depending on a partner’s anatomy, but IUI and IVF remain possible, in addition to split cycle IVF, donor eggs, and surrogacy.

For Those Who Have Begun Hormone Therapy and are Ready to Start Their Path to Parenthood

If you have begun hormone therapy, the hormones involved in hormone replacement therapy may impact your egg or sperm health. You will need to stop taking your hormones for six months before using your eggs or three to six months before using your sperm to optimize your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy. At that point, options can include IUI, IVF, donor sperm, donor eggs, and gestational surrogacy. 

Begin Your Path to Parenthood

IHR embraces diversity, and we aim to provide compassionate, inclusive, and expert care to all members of the LGBTQ+ community on their fertility journeys.

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