Options for Gay Family Building. Start your family with a plan of action.
Today, there are many options for gay family building. Traditionally, adoption or fostering were the only choices available for gay men. Now, gay couples also have the choice to use surrogacy with IVF and donor eggs.
Family building for gay men using gestational surrogacy
Gestational surrogacy requires the use of an egg donor and a gestational surrogate; the process always involves IVF. With this option, eggs are harvested from an egg donor, fertilized with your sperm and then transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. The surrogate carries the pregnancy to term on behalf of the couple.
The surrogate can be a family member or a friend. However, couples who cannot find a surrogate, or feel uncomfortable asking friends and family to be gestational carriers, can use a surrogacy agency. Surrogacy agencies facilitate arrangements between couples seeking a gestational carrier and women willing to serve as a surrogate. This process will include legal contracts between both parties.
Egg donors are generally healthy women between the ages of 21 to 32 who contract with an egg bank. The eggs can either be frozen or fresh. Frozen eggs are often cheaper to obtain; using frozen eggs also cuts down on the amount of time the couple will spend anticipating a child, since there is no need to wait for stimulation and egg retrieval from the donor.
Completing the fertility treatment cycle
Once the egg donor has been chosen and the eggs are retrieved, the eggs are fertilized by the sperm that you provide. In some cases, both partners opt to use their sperm to fertilize multiple eggs.
Next, the fertilized eggs, now embryos, are transferred into the gestational carrier. If the couple has decided to use fresh eggs, the surrogate’s cycle must be synched with the donor’s cycle so that the eggs can be retrieved and fertilized during a time when the gestational carrier is most fertile. If using frozen eggs, only the cycle of the gestational carrier needs to be altered. The surrogate is then given injections of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prepare the uterine lining for transfer of the embryos. Once the uterine lining is ready, the embryos are transferred.
If you are a gay male couple hoping to start your family, USC Fertility can help. For more than 30 years, LGBT couples across Southern California have worked with our fertility specialists to make their dreams of starting their own families come true. Contact us here to learn how close you are to starting your family with options for gay family building.