Adoption, IVF and Fertility Options for Same Sex Couples
Same-sex couples face different fertility options and issues from heterosexual couples who can attempt conception without any medical help. Lesbian couples require an outside source of sperm while gay men require both eggs and uterus.
Singles, gays, and lesbians are sometimes called "dysfertile" as opposed to "infertile" to emphasize their social (rather than just biological) obstacles to reproduction. The U.S. should expand IVF coverage for the infertile and include the dysfertile too. Currently the U.S. has among the lowest rates of IVF usage of any developed country in the world, owing in part to boasting the highest cost for the procedure, on average $100,000 per successful pregnancy.
- Egg Sharing - A number of same-sex couples choose to egg-share. This is where the eggs of one partner are used in an IVF cycle to create embryos that are then transferred into the other partner, with the effect that one partner is the birth mother and the other partner is the genetic mother.
- IVF - A treatment where fertility medications are used to prompt a larger number of eggs to grow (usually 5-10). These eggs are removed from the ovaries and combined with the donated sperm in the laboratory via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where an individual sperm is injected directly into the egg. The embryo develops in the laboratory for 2-5 days before being transferred back to the woman.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) - The timing of inseminating a woman with donated sperm during her fertile window is the simplest method. An IUI procedure is very simple and following the monitoring of your cycle, the sperm is placed in the uterus via a small tube just prior to ovulation.
- Surrogacy - Where another woman has a baby for a couple who can't have a child themselves. It's an option if you're a gay man, where the surrogate mother's egg can be fertilised by either you or your partner's sperm.
- Gay couples and single men - Can build their families with the combination of donor eggs, their own sperm and a surrogate. With the use of in vitro fertilization, donor eggs can be fertilized with sperm of the intended parent(s) and the resultant embryos can be transferred back into a gestational surrogate to carry the pregnancy.
- Lesbian Couples - Typically, the couple will decide which partner will carry the pregnancy. This partner will proceed with day 3 blood work to test hormone levels and a HSG to determine the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes. If she has a good prognosis, then the couple will select a sperm donor to be used to achieve the pregnancy. Donor sperm will be used in an intrauterine insemination (IUI), a simple procedure where the sperm is placed directly into the woman’s uterus.
- Co-parenting - This is typically when a lesbian and a gay man team up to have children together, although one or the other may also be straight or bisexual. The man donates the sperm and both parties share responsibility for and custody of their child.
- Adoption for same-sex couples - It's now possible for same-sex couples in some areas of the world to adopt a child together. Couples can apply to adopt through a local authority or an adoption agency.
In Skinner v. Oklahoma, a 1942 Supreme Court case, Justice Douglas proclaimed marriage and procreation "the basic civil rights of man," calling them together "fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race." As the Court considers whether gays and lesbians should be permitted to marry who they love, this is the moment to consider reasonable measures to combat reproductive inequalities too.
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Author: Marcella Martinez - (Publish Date: 2016-11-12)
- UK Surrogacy Laws Have Become Nonsensical - Kent Legal Expert
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Author: University of Kent - (Publish Date: 2016-05-04)
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Author: Queensland University of Technology - (Publish Date: 2015-11-13)
- Let's Adopt Reform: Donaldson Adoption Institute
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Author: American Sociological Association - (Publish Date: 2015-08-29)
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