6 Fertility Tips for LGBTQ+ Parents: Couples & Individuals

June 17, 2021
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Everyone deserves the chance to have a family. Having a supportive network on that journey is essential. LGBTQ+ parents have an exciting path to parenthood and it’s important to choose a team with experience working with single parents as well as couples.

At Fairfax EggBank, our team has helped build beautiful families with our premier frozen donor eggs and understands the unique needs of LGBTQ+ parents. Our sibling company Fairfax Cryobank is the most trusted source for frozen donor sperm, responsible for helping many individuals, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status achieve pregnancy and fulfill their dreams of expanding their family.

Whether choosing a fresh or frozen egg donor, or choosing a sperm donor, here are 6 important tips to be aware of when starting the process to becoming a family.

1. Find the Right Fertility Clinic

Your fertility clinic will be your partner in coordinating each step that follows, so it is important to find a clinic and a team that is experienced in working with individuals or couples in the LGBTQ+ community.

The clinic that you work with should have a full understanding of your specific needs as LGBTQ+ parents. It’s important first and foremost to schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist. During your consultation, you and your partner can discuss any questions or concerns you may have. In your consultation, your specialist will also review your medical history, and that of your partner to ensure good health and fertility eligibility.

Be sure to ask about all the fertility options available and discuss your family planning goals. Talking through treatment options and planning helps to determine the best path to conception.

LGBTQ+ families can find more detailed information on supportive sites like Human Rights Campaign, Men Having Babies, and Family Equality. Find specialists in your area that are trained and experienced in helping gay, lesbian, & trans individuals and partners build their families.

2. Decide Who Will Carry the Baby

Every couple will have to decide who will carry the baby. It’s a question that you and your significant other should have carefully thought out. Female partners may decide to carry the baby themselves, while other couples may choose to use a gestational carrier (surrogate) and/or egg donor.

Coordinating the use of a gestational carrier is usually managed through an agency, or in some cases directly through an IVF clinic if they have an in-house program. For some programs, you may be required to choose a donor from their program as well, so it is important to know what your options for donors are before agreeing to program. In many cases, the donor selection may be limited to local donors. One of the benefits of an egg bank is that donors from across the country are available. Those are important things to consider when choosing a program.

Fairfax EggBank works closely with intended parents to help them find their perfect donor no matter who will carry the baby to term. We also work hand in glove with the IVF clinic to ensure safe delivery of the donor eggs.

In most ways, the surrogacy process is no different for gay parents than it is for straight intended parents; when you work with an LGBT-friendly surrogacy professional, you will complete all the same steps and have the same rights and choices throughout the process, however, those can vary by state. You can read more about the process at Surrogate.com.

3. Choose an Egg Donor

When choosing an egg donor, you might have some more specific questions about the process. At Fairfax EggBank, LGBT donor egg parents are guided through the process with one of our dedicated Client Relations Specialists. We help anyone with female-factor infertility, or couples and individuals who require a donor egg to become parents.

If you haven’t chosen your clinic yet, donor eggs can be kept in storage with Fairfax EggBank until you have selected a partnered clinic and scheduled your or your gestational carrier’s cycle.

4. Decide Whose Sperm to Use

You and/or your significant other will also have to determine whose sperm to use. Couples with a partner(s) that may provide the sperm can opt to use one or both partner’s sperm. Some individuals or couples will need to use donor sperm to achieve pregnancy.

When using donor sperm, you or your partner can choose intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve pregnancy. With IUI, you and/or your partner will be inseminated with donor sperm. If you choose IVF, you and/or your partner will provide eggs and have embryos created using the same sperm.

Once you decide how you want to proceed, make sure that you are clear about your instructions with your clinic.

Fairfax Cryobank provides detailed information for queer families to find their perfect sperm donor match. Learn more about the Fairfax EggBank Embryo Development Guarantee and the Fairfax Cryobank Pregnancy Pledge.

NOTE: There are individuals and couples that may use donors for both eggs and sperm, and/or a separate gestational carrier. There are many beautiful options for building families.

5. Establish Your Legal Parental Rights

It is important to establish your legal rights for you, your child, and the future. The Human Rights Campaign have resources to help parents navigate their specific states laws that affect the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer parenting community. You can find specific links to your state on the HRC Laws & Legislation, State & Local Policy State Equality Index 2020.

6. Genetic Screening

As genetics advance, access to more extensive testing is available that can help parents understand the potential risks for inheriting genetic conditions. At Fairfax EggBank, our egg donors are screened with the most advanced tests available when they join the program. Beginning in 2019, new egg donors welcomed into the program were screened with GenPanel+, the most extensive screening available. As additional tests become available, donors will be screened for those as well.

The sperm provider will undergo a rigorous screening for infectious diseases and if the egg donor is a carrier for a condition, the sperm provider is recommended to be tested for any specific conditions that the egg donor tests positive for.

Similarly, sperm donors should also be tested for genetic conditions. It is important to choose a sperm donor from a source that either is willing to get tested or has already been tested.

The person providing their eggs can then be tested for specific conditions to reduce the risk of conditions in the baby. You can learn more about Fairfax Cryobank genetic screening here.

Talk to a Fertility Expert

Those were a few things to consider when you and your partner decide to start a family. If you have any questions about fertility options for gay, lesbian, trans, and queer parents, reach out to Fairfax EggBank today.

We can discuss egg donor options and direct you to the IVF clinics and partners we work with to answer any questions you have about fertility treatments and processes. You can also connect with Fairfax Cryobank to discuss sperm donor options.

We want to help you into the emotional and fulfilling adventure of parenthood. That’s why we are committed to being a partner with you as you take the next steps to build your family.

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