At CNY Fertility, believe every woman has the right to become a mom.
Of course, as a lesbian couple, you will need assistance from a reproductive specialist to have a biologically related child.
The two most common questions and the two questions that need to be decided before any major treatments can begin are whose eggs and whose sperm? While these are obviously fairly personal questions, we have a dedicated team that can help talk you through any potential options.
Naturally, a lesbian couple has a decision to make that some other couples don’t have. The first thing a lesbian couple often thinks about when trying to have a child is “whose eggs should we use.” It can be a tough decision and there are many solutions.
Many couples choose to use the eggs of the partner who will carry the baby.
Other lesbian couples choose to do what is known as reciprocal IVF or Partner IVF. Reciprocal IVF is an option that allows both partners to be physically involved in their child’s conception, something that is naturally very appealing to many couples. What is Reciprocal IVF? Very simply, one partner supplies the eggs that will be fertilized with donor sperm to make the embryo, while the other partner is the gestational carrier for the pregnancy.
To start a Reciprocal IVF cycle, both partners menstrual cycles will first be aligned. The partner donating who the eggs will come from goes through ovarian stimulation in order to produce multiple eggs. The eggs are then extracted in a process known as Egg Retrieval. Your egg retrieval will be done under a light general anesthesia so both partners (or someone else) will need to be present at the egg retrieval to drive home.
The Eggs extracted during the egg retrieval are then fertilized using donor sperm.
When the embryos have developed to the appropriate stage, the embryos will be transferred during a fresh or frozen embryo transfer. If doing a frozen embryo transfer, it is not important to align your menstrual cycles prior to treatment.
Assuming all goes well, the embryo will implant in the partner’s uterus and grow into a healthy baby.
If neither partner has fertility issues, the choice of who will provide the eggs and who will be the gestational carrier is a completely personal one. It is possible, however, that having a specific partner be the egg “donor,” and the other partner being the gestational carrier could provide some benefit.
Often times, partners will switch the roles for a second cycle that way both partners get to have the experience of being pregnant and childbirth.
It is even possible for both partners to cycle together and become pregnant at the same time using the same donor sperm so that both children are half-siblings.
The decision to conceive with sperm from an anonymous donor vs a known donor from a family member or friend is a completely personal decision and left fully up to the couple.
As a lesbian couple, you have many treatment options available for you. As with all clients, we never force a couple or individual into a specific treatment course. Ultimately, we act as educators. Yes, we will guide you and help you find the solution that works best for you, but the final decision on what course of treatment you follow will always be yours.
The first decision you will need to make for your treatment is what sperm you will be using. Any couple using donor sperm can choose to use a known donor (sperm from a family member or a friend) or from an anonymous donor. You can find a list of all the New York State approved sperm banks here.
Using donor sperm, an IUI is one of the simplest solutions for a lesbian couple to undergo and is considered a low intervention treatment. An IUI is also likely your most affordable solution (should it work the first time) but does have a slightly lower chance of success than other options.
IUI with Ovarian Stimulation and Ovulation Induction
To increase the success of an IUI, medications can be added to increase the number of eggs produced and time your ovulation. This treatment costs the same as a natural IUI ($350), but there is a slight increase in monitoring ($850 instead of $725) and an increased cost in medications.
In Vitro Fertilization | IVF
IVF treatment is the gold standard of fertility care and gives you the highest chance of success even as a lesbian couple. Remember however, that statistics are based on populations and you are an individual. IVF is more costly, $3,900 per cycle, but gives you the potential advantage of retrieving multiple eggs (and thus doing multiple transfers – $250 for FETs within a year of your egg retrieval) further increase your chance of success, increased fertilization rates, and the option to do Reciprocal IVF.