LGBTQ+ fertility: a comprehensive guide
Assisted fertility options have made significant advancements in recent years, providing increased accessibility and inclusivity for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who are looking to start or expand their families.
Let's take a look at some assisted fertility options:
Egg or Sperm Donation
Egg or sperm donation can be a viable option for LGBTQ+ individuals or couples who may require genetic material from a donor to achieve pregnancy. Egg or sperm donation involves using eggs or sperm from a donor, either known or anonymous, to fertilise an egg or create an embryo, which can then be transferred to the uterus for pregnancy.
For same-sex female couples, where both partners have a uterus, donor sperm can be used for intra-cervical insemination (ICI) or intra-uterine insemination (IUI) to achieve pregnancy. In the case of same-sex male couples, donor eggs and a gestational surrogate may be needed to carry the pregnancy through IVF.
If you are considering sperm or egg donation, it's important to ensure that your egg or sperm are in the best possible shape for when you are ready to move forward with your donor. You can learn more about supporting sperm health here, and how to support egg health here.
Intra-Cervical Insemination (ICI)
Intra-cervical insemination (ICI), also known as artificial insemination, involves placing sperm into the cervix using a medical technique. This can be a less invasive and more affordable option for LGBTQ+ individuals or couples where one partner has a uterus and is willing to carry the pregnancy.
ICI can be performed at a fertility clinic or at home using a donor sperm kit.
Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI)
Intra-uterine insemination (IUI) is a more advanced method of assisted fertility that involves placing sperm directly into the uterus using a medical procedure. IUI can be a suitable option for LGBTQ+ individuals or couples where one partner has a uterus and is willing to carry the pregnancy.
Prior to IUI, the sperm may be prepared and washed to increase the chances of successful fertilisation. The prepared sperm is then carefully placed into the uterus using a catheter during the woman's ovulation period. Monitoring of the person with the uterus' menstrual cycle and hormone levels may be required to optimise the timing of IUI.
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a more complex and intensive form of assisted fertility that involves fertilising eggs with sperm in a laboratory setting and then transferring embryos into the uterus. IVF can be a suitable option for same-sex female couples, where one partner provides the eggs and the other carries the pregnancy, for same-sex male couples who may need to use a gestational surrogate, or for individuals regardless of sexual orientation.
IVF typically involves several steps, including ovarian stimulation to produce multiple eggs, egg retrieval, fertilisation in the laboratory, embryo development, and embryo transfer to the uterus. IVF requires careful monitoring and coordination with a fertility clinic, and the success rates can vary depending on various factors such as age, overall health, and fertility history.
We've outlined some common mistakes that people make when going through IVF. Learn more by tapping here.
Emotional and Social Considerations
LGBTQ+ individuals and couples may also face unique emotional and social challenges when navigating fertility options. Dealing with societal attitudes, discrimination, and stigma can be emotionally challenging for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who are seeking assisted fertility options.
Some may find it beneficial to seek support from dedicated groups or a qualified therapist to help navigate the additional emotional challenges and social complexities that may arise during the fertility journey.
Assisted fertility options have opened up new possibilities for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples who are looking to start or expand their families. Zita West is proud to provide inclusive and supportive care for LGBTQ+ individuals and couples on their fertility journey. We strive to create a safe and welcoming environment where all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, can feel respected, supported, and empowered as they pursue their fertility goals. Zita West is dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ individuals and couples achieve their dreams of parenthood with compassion, expertise, and inclusivity.
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