Infertility Treatment for the Lesbian/ Gay Couple
It's not uncommon for lesbian/gay couples to want to start a family. This has traditionally been done through adoption, but thanks to the availability of third party reproduction, many gay and lesbian families are now electing to have their own, genetic children.
It is highly recommended that you consult with an attorney who specializes in reproductive legal issues. He can help you make sense of the legal restrictions present in your state. Legal contracts need to be drafted in order to ensure that the ownership of the embryos remains with you and that there are no custody issues later on.
A lesbian couple has several options when it comes to infertility treatment. One woman within the relationship must elect to carry the pregnancy. If there is a preference between partners, or a medical issue that prevents one of the partners from becoming pregnant, this should be factored into the decision-making process. If one of the partners is significantly older than the other, perhaps the younger partner should strongly consider carrying the pregnancy.
Treatment usually proceeds in the same manner as for a single woman:a sperm donor is selected, either known or anonymous, and a medical protocol is devised by the doctor.
Some couples elect to take a different approach: one partner acts as an egg donor, donating her eggs through IVF, which are then fertilized with the donated sperm. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the second partner. In essence, one partner contributes half of the genetics and the other partner carries the pregnancy.
Same-Sex Male Couples
Male couples have a trickier time when it comes to having their own child. One partner contributes the sperm, but an egg donor and gestational carrier are also needed. In most cases, IVF is the treatment of choice.
Some male couples elect to both contribute their sperm. The two samples are combined in the lab before fertilization, making it possible for either partner to be the genetic father of the child. If you choose, paternity testing can be done once the child is born.
Depending on the state where you live, there is most likely legislation dictating how surrogacy is regulated.
The couple can elect to use a known or unknown egg donor and carrier, or any combination in between. For example, they may want to use the sister of the partner who is not donating his sperm as the egg donor, but find a carrier through an agency. Or they may use an anonymous egg donor with a friend carrying the pregnancy. The decision is inherently personal and deserves a great deal of thought and consideration.