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Fertility Options for LGBTQ Moms

Family Building for LGBTQ Moms to Be

There are three routes to pregnancy for LGBTQ women in a same-sex relationship: artificial insemination, IVF using one partner's eggs and uterus, or IVF using one partner’s eggs, where the other partner carries and delivers the pregnancy.


Artificial Insemination

Artificial insemination is a process in which sperm is placed into a women's reproductive tract using means other than sexual intercourse. For many single moms-to-be or couples where only one partner chooses to biologically participate in the pregnancy, insemination is a logical first step to parenthood.

Insemination involves placing sperm into the uterus (intrauterine insemination, or IUI) or the cervix (intra-cervical insemination, or ICI). For this process, frozen sperm is usually shipped to your physician, and is thawed the day of insemination.

In order to begin artificial insemination, see your primary care physician or fertility doctor. Make sure you're up-to-date on all healthcare maintenance, including Pap smear and mammogram. It is also important to track your cycle each month, as cycle tracking is how insemination is timed.

Your sperm donor options include a known, open door, or anonymous donor. Ask your fertility clinic or OB-GYN for any recommendations that they may have to help guide you through this process, or learn more about choosing a sperm donor here.

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IVF (with One Partner's Eggs & Uterus)

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process that involves stimulating ovaries to develop multiple eggs, and then fertilizing those eggs with sperm in the laboratory to make embryos. Those embryos grow in the laboratory for a few days, and then are placed back into the uterus, to hopefully create a healthy pregnancy.

To move forward with IVF, you should see a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist. Your doctor will complete a panel of pre-pregnancy tests for screening, genetics and infectious diseases. IVF with one partner's egg and uterus is another great option for single moms-to-be, or for couples where only one partner chooses to biologically participate in the pregnancy.

IVF is considered a very safe process, and one of the most successful fertility treatment options available. IVF stimulation requires injectable medication over the course of a few weeks, and also a procedure known as an egg retrieval under sedation. Over 5 million children have been born from in vitro fertilization!

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Reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF is a process that allows both partners in a same-sex female relationship to participate biologically in the pregnancy.  One partner takes fertility medicines and goes through the egg retrieval process, and then their eggs are combined with designated donor sperm in the IVF laboratory. Then, once the embryos have developed and the timing is right, a fertility specialist completes an embryo transfer into the uterus of the other partner, who carries and delivers the pregnancy. 

As with all fertility journeys, a reciprocal IVF journey will need to be personalized to you, your partner, and your fertility levels. Learn more about at-home fertility testing and your first steps to LGBTQ parenthood here.

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Want to learn more about your options for choosing a sperm donor and moving through the process? Click through our list of donor sperm banks and more!

Choosing a Sperm Donor