LGBT Options - Fertility Center of Dallas
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LGBT Options

Everyone has the right to become parents

Everyone has the right to become parents, which is why the Fertility Center of Dallas offers a range of fertility services for LGBT families. From donor sperm and donor egg options, to IVF and gestational surrogates – we work closely with LGBT individuals and couples as we help you build your growing family.

Here are some of the most common fertility treatments used to help lesbian, gay and transgender individuals and couples.

Lesbian Fertility Options

If you are a healthy woman and you ovulate regularly, you’ll probably use a combination of a sperm donor and IUI to conceive. However, there are cases where patients have existing infertility factors, they weren’t aware of. For this reason, we recommend women undergo the full fertility testing spectrum. You’ll save time, energy and money – ensuring we select the best lesbian fertility treatment for you.

Lesbian Fertility Testing

In addition to getting a full scope of your personal medical and reproductive history, we’ll also ask questions about your family medical history and perform a routine physical. We’ll also run the standard female fertility tests, including:

  • Blood samples to test for any hormone abnormalities, and to verify AMH and FSH levels
  • Antral follicle count to ensure you have an adequate egg supply
  • Follicle growth series to verify eggs grow and mature in the ovary as expected
  • Transvaginal ultrasound, providing a visual of your uterus and ovaries, looking for any signs of abnormalities, growths or irregularities that could compromise fertility
  • Hysterosalpingogram, which uses the combination of a contrast dye and X-Ray technology to look for blockages in the fallopian tubes
  • Preconception genetic screening to ensure your eggs

If both partners are open to carrying the baby, we recommend you both undergo fertility testing. This allows us to discuss which partner should play which role to achieve a quicker conception and the safest, healthiest pregnancy. For example, if one woman has an infertility factor and the other does not, we may recommend that the former provide the eggs and the latter carry the baby.

Donor Sperm IUI For Lesbian Couples

In almost all cases, our lesbian patients utilize donor sperm. If this is the path you pursue:

  • We’ll encourage you to use a gentle fertility medication (Clomid) to stimulate ovulation, increasing your chances of conception within the first one or two cycles.
  • You can choose a friend or relative
  • We can provide a list of high-quality, renowned sperm banks for your donor selection

Read, Using a Sperm Donor for IUI to learn more about the sperm donor selection process.

IUI for lesbians is a straightforward procedure, and not unlike a routine pelvic exam. The physician will carefully insert a catheter into your cervix and then release the washed and prepared sperm into your uterus. At the end of two weeks, we’ll know if the procedure was successful.

Traditional IVF For Same-Sex Female Couples

IVF is another fertility treatment option for same-sex female couples. IVF is used when the partner opting to carry the baby has certain infertility factors that make it difficult to conceive via IUI or where IUI cycles were unsuccessful.

In this case, we can retrieve her eggs and fertilize them in the lab, proceeding with IVF as usual. We can also use donor eggs if/when egg quantity or quality are an issue. In either case, IVF for lesbian couples works the same as traditional IVF.

  • Ovulation induction. The woman providing the egg will undergo ovarian stimulation, using a combination of fertility medications and careful monitoring via blood testing and ultrasound. When the doctor sees she is ready, a “trigger” injection is administered.
  • Egg retrieval. 36-hours after the trigger injection, she will come back to the office. Under mild sedation, we’ll retrieve the released eggs. The entire egg retrieval procedure takes 15-minutes or less, after which she should return home and rest for the remainder of the day.
  • Fertilization. Our exceptional embryologists fertilize the eggs in the lab using the donor sperm. This happens one of two ways; the first is to simply mix them in a petri dish and see how many eggs are fertilized by the sperm. The second is a more advanced procedure (called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI) where the embryologists manually inject eggs with healthy sperm. If requested, we can also provide preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) on the resulting embryos, looking for chromosomal abnormalities and/or for the most common genetic disorders. Participating in PGT ensures we select the healthiest embryos for IVF transfer.
  • IVF Transfer. If you opt to use a fresh IVF transfer, we will work with the partner receiving the embryos and sync her menstrual cycle accordingly. On Day 5, the partner carrying the baby comes in for the transfer procedure. Like IUI, she’ll be mildly sedated and we’ll carefully transfer the embryo(s) into the uterus. In two weeks, we’ll know whether the embryo has implanted. You also have the option of freezing and storing embryos, participating in IVF transfer at a future date.

Reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF – also called partner IVF – is a popular option for lesbian couples. This version of IVF is used when there are issues with egg quality/quantity for the woman hoping to carry the baby as well as for couples where both women want to be more intimately connected to the pregnancy journey. Either partner can opt to be the egg donor or gestational carrier.

Reciprocal IVF works just like traditional IVF, only we retrieve eggs from one partner, fertilize them, and then transfer them to the partner opting to carry the pregnancy. If there are no existing infertility diagnoses, you can change roles the next time around should you opt to have another child in the future.

Gay fertility options

The Fertility Center of Dallas is excited to support gay couples in and around the Dallas area as you explore all options for a safe and connected pregnancy and parenting experience. There are several options available to you, including the use of donor eggs and sperm, IVF and gestational carriers – also called gestational surrogates.

The combination of semen analysis, egg donor selection and expert IVF treatment will help your family building dreams come true.

Choosing an egg donor

All gay couples will need to select an egg donor for their IVF procedure. This can take place one of two ways:

If there are no existing infertility diagnoses, you can change roles the next time around should you opt to have another child in the future.

  • You may prefer to select eggs from a friend or relative. This requires careful consideration, and we recommend you seek legal counsel before proceeding with the egg retrieval. We also recommend having the donor tested for genetic disorders to rule out the chance of passing them on to the baby.
  • Use an egg donor bank. The Fertility Center of Dallas partners with the most reputable egg banks in the Dallas area as well as nationwide, so you have access to a wide range of donors from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds. You’ll have access to detailed donor files and can rest assured that all of the donors have been screened for physical, mental and genetic wellness.

In either case, the Fertility Center of Dallas will work carefully with you to make the best choice for your growing family and your future.

Surrogacy Options for Gay Couples

Pregnancies requiring a surrogate require both an egg donor and a woman willing to carry the resulting embryo(s) for the duration of the pregnancy. Historically, both the donor and the carrier could be the same woman. However, this arrangement is illegal in Texas.

As a result, gay couples in Texas use gestational carriers –  meaning eggs from a donor are fertilized in the lab and the resulting embryo(s) is transferred into a separate, gestational carrier’s uterus.

  • Choose an egg donor. First, you’ll choose an egg donor. If you choose a friend or family member, FCD can facilitate the egg retrieval for you. If you choose an agency, the frozen eggs will be sent to our office – and thawed when you’ve selected your gestational carrier and are ready to procedd with IVF.
  • Select a gestational carrier. Screening for the right gestational carrier requires careful deliberation to allow for the best outcome for all parties involved. You have the option of using a friend or relative, or you can use a gestational carrier from an agency. Any gestational carrier you select should be at least 21-years of age and should have already given birth to a healthy, full-term baby.

Once the eggs and the gestational carrier are ready, your baby will be conceived using IVF. Depending on your decision, we will use sperm from one or both partners (some partners opt to have their semen samples mixed for the fertilization process). If an infertility diagnosis or genetic risk is an issue, you may also opt to use donor sperm.

We recommend pursuing counseling, as well as professional legal counsel, to thoroughly prepare yourself for the entire process, and to navigate a respectful and healthy relationship with the chosen gestational carrier.

The Fertility Center of Dallas Looks Forward to Helping You Build Your Family

Please contact us to learn more about your LGBT fertility options or to schedule a consultation. We’re excited to play such an important role in your fertility journey and we promise to provide compassionate and personalized care from the moment you step through our door, until your beautiful baby is born.

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