SCRC is committed to helping lesbian couples who desire their own biological children. Success depends on many factors and prior to treatment a work up should be performed to evaluate the likelihood of conception. In order to maximize the success of conceiving we need to select the optimal treatment for each patient.

For lesbian couples, one partner may choose to donate the egg and the other partner will carry the pregnancy.

In order to accomplish this, in vitro fertilization is necessary, as the partner donating the egg would be stimulated with hormones and have her eggs harvested and fertilized and then transferred into her partner’s uterus to carry the pregnancy. However, if one partner is providing the eggs and carrying the pregnancy, in vitro fertilization is not necessary.

Instead insemination can be performed and sperm used to fertilize the eggs can be from a friend, relative or anonymous donor through a sperm bank.

The Options: Lesbian Couples

SCRC offers same sex female (lesbian) couples two primary fertility/pregnancy options:

Artificial insemination (IUI) with donor sperm (Intrauterine)

IUI is often used because of its superior success rates with frozen sperm. Sperm is injected, using a syringe and a thin catheter into the uterus via the cervix, at the time of ovulation.

Partner IVF (in vitro fertilization)

IVF is fertilization of an egg outside the body and is the oldest assisted reproductive technology (ART) and still the most frequently used. SCRC recommends IVF when one female partner wishes to provide the eggs and the other is interested in carrying the pregnancy. IVF can also be used if chance of pregnancy with IUI is low (because of age or low egg number). Thus, the partner providing the eggs has a genetic link while the partner carrying the pregnancy maintains a gestational link to their offspring. Genetic testing of the embryos to be transferred can also be done if the family desires family balancing.

Sperm donor insemination into one or both partners.

  • IVF, using the eggs of one partner and fertilized by donor sperm, the embryo is implanted into the other partner.
  • IVF, using the eggs of one partner and fertilized by donor sperm, the embryo is implanted into a surrogate.
  • IVF, using donor eggs and donor sperm, the embryo is implanted into one partner.
  • IVF, using donor eggs and donor sperm, the embryo is implanted into a surrogate.
  • IVF, using eggs from both partners and donor sperm, the embryo is implanted into one partner.
  • IVF, using eggs from both partners and donor sperm, the embryos are implanted into both partners.

Selecting a sperm donor

Lesbian couples may decide which sperm bank and which donor to use. For couples who prefer to use semen from a known donor, sperm analysis is relatively inexpensive and non-invasive. Sample collection may be performed at either a laboratory, a physician’s office, or in some cases, the privacy of home. Information about a donor’s physical characteristics, race, ethnic background, educational background, career history and general health should be available. We adhere to FDA regulations and make sure mental health professionals educate this lifelong decision. We also make sure legal contracts are in place to protect everyone.

The Steps: Lesbian Couples

Typically, the couple will decide which partner will carry the pregnancy. This partner will proceed with “day 3 blood work” to test hormone levels and a HSG to determine the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes. If she has a good prognosis, then the couple will select a sperm donor to be used to achieve the pregnancy.

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a more complex treatment protocol where both partners will be tested and take medication to boost their fertility. The partner who will donate her eggs will also undergo a surgical egg retrieval procedure. The eggs will be inseminated with the donor sperm and once mature, the embryos are placed in the uterus of the woman who will carry and give birth to the baby.

Donor Eggs

Occasionally some lesbian couples need to use donor eggs to conceive due to the absence of ovaries or the inability of the ovaries to produce viable eggs in both women. Donors may include sisters or other family members, friends or anonymous donors.

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