There is no reason gay men can’t share a biological connection with their child and enjoy the benefits of participating and supporting their child’s pregnancy. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) holds the key to biological family building for the LGBTQ+ population.
Ultimately, it requires a handful of steps that all add up to the birth of your beautiful, healthy baby.
Step One: Review all of the options and terms associated with fertility treatments
From selecting an egg donor and gestational carrier and your personal fertility workup to understanding all of the terms used in the fertility treatment world – you have quite a bit to learn and sort through.
Having a foundational understanding of the ins-and-outs of how gay couples can have their own child will help guide your decision making, and make you more comfortable when you meet with your fertility specialist.
Read our post dedicated to gay male couples desiring a child to learn more about your options and the procedures involved to start your family.
Step Two: Connect with a fertility specialist
You may have some more decision making to do, but now is a great time to connect with a fertility specialist. Having a specialist on-tap means instant access to accurate information, and personalized recommendations based on your physical and sperm analysis.
We recommend both partners undergo sperm analysis. If desired, both of you can contribute sperm for conception, but fertility testing may indicate that one of you has healthier sperm than the other, or that donor sperm would give you higher fertility chances.
Look for experienced fertility specialists with access to:
- The best egg donor banks in the nation (as well as their own egg stores)
- Connections with pre-screened, qualifying gestational surrogates in your area
- Successful experience helping other gay couples start their families
Step Three: Create a financial plan
The average cost for gay couples using a gestational carrier and their own sperm can run upward towards $100,000. For some, this is a non-issue. For others, it will take careful planning and a review of the financing options available.
Step Four: Consider meeting with a fertility counselor
While healthy gay men with ample, mobile sperm have high chances of fertility treatment success, it’s a good idea to take the long-term view for your child and your family.
It may be that you have different ideas about how or when to tell family and friends about your decision. What is your plan for telling your future child how s/he was conceived and born into your lives? If your child struggles to make sense of their story, what tools are worth having at hand to support his her emotional well being?
All of these are worth talking about in detail with a therapist who has experience working with LGBTQ+ individuals who used advanced reproductive technologies (ART) to grow their family.
Step Five: Make your final ART choices and get started
Once you know how you’re going to conceive your baby (sperm and a donor egg + gestational carrier, sperm + surrogate willing to donate an egg, donor sperm + gestational carrier, etc.), it’s time to get started.
Most men use a gestational carrier. If this is your choice, the phases involved include:
- Selecting a Donor. You get lots of input into the woman who provides your eggs and can search for your perfect donor online based on criteria such as ethnicity, hair/eye color, education level, talents and hobbies, education, professional experience, etc.
- Selecting a gestational carrier. You will use a similar process to choose a gestational carrier. However, in this case, you’ll have access to digital information as well as the ability to speak with and interview her to solidify that she’s the right g.c. for your family.
- Fertilization. Your sperm will be mixed with the donor eggs to create embryos that are frozen and stored for IVF when you and your gestational carrier are ready.
- Embryo transfer and the resulting pregnancy. We’ll work with your gestational carrier to sync her menstrual cycle using birth control pills, and then use a hormone called Lupron to ripen her uterus for embryo transfer. Read our post on the frozen embryo process to learn more. Because gestational carriers are healthy women, without reproductive issues, and who have been pregnant in the past – IVF is typically successful within one to two cycles.
This is the most exciting part of all because once your baby is conceived, you get the absolute joy of being intimately connected to his/her pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
Contact us here at Northern California Fertility Medical Center to get started. Our team has helped dozens of couples just like you transform from a married couple – to a full-fledged family with children. We’ll be here for you every step of the way.