USC Fertility

Lesbian Family Building

USC Fertility offers promising options for lesbian family building

Today, lesbian couples looking to build their family have numerous choices at their disposal. Depending on your fertility challenges and needs, treatments such as IUI, IVF and the use of donor eggs and sperm have significantly enhanced the process of starting your own family. For two decades, USC Fertility has pioneered the use of reproductive medicine to help men and women who wish to become parents share a biological connection with their children.

Among the options for lesbian family building, intrauterine insemination, IUI, is the most familiar

One of the most popular and straightforward fertility treatment procedures for lesbian couples is intrauterine insemination. With IUI, a catheter directly delivers washed and prepared sperm into the uterus of the prospective mother.

To maximize the likelihood of egg fertilization, this procedure is performed in sync with the predetermined ovulation schedule of the mother, and is often administered with ovulation-stimulating medications. IUI costs are relatively affordable.

If there isn’t success with natural ovulation, oral medications can be added to make 2-3 eggs ovulate at one time.

A small percentage of women will need in vitro fertilization to become pregnant

In vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, offers lesbian couples a more involved option with which to build their family. IVF was first successfully performed in 1978, and consists of five steps:

1. Ovulation induction or stimulation
2. Retrieval of the eggs from the uterus
3. Manual fertilization of the egg with sperm in an IVF lab, resulting in one or more embryos
4. Transfer of the embryo(s) back into the uterus
5. Hormonal support in the luteal phase to encourage embryonic implantation in the uterine lining

For prospective mothers carrying a genetically transmitted disease, facing premature menopause, or pursuing reciprocal IVF, a donor egg can be used. FDA regulations require that egg donors undergo a comprehensive physical exam, genetic disease screening and blood work, even when an egg donor is the woman’s partner.

Reciprocal IVF, in which both partners physically participate

Among the options for lesbian family building, reciprocal IVF is an advanced medical technique that enables both partners of a lesbian couple to physically participate in the pregnancy process and share a biological connection to their child.

First, eggs are removed from one partner and fertilized in the IVF lab. The embryo is then transferred to the other partner, whose uterus has been primed with hormone support.

To minimize complications, factors such as age, weight and health should be considered when determining which partner will carry the child to term and which will supply the egg.

IVF with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT)

Many couples today opt for preimplantation genetic testing, or PGT, a testing technique similar to prenatal screening that determines whether the embryo is healthy enough to be carried to term. PGT takes place prior to the embryo being transferred back into the uterus, and has become one of the increasingly popular options for lesbian family building.

Start building your family with our team of fertility experts

At USC Fertility, our team is proud to have helped so many LGBT couples achieve pregnancy and build their families over the past 20-plus years. Contact us to find out what our fertility specialists can do to enhance your options for lesbian family building.