Choosing to start a family with a fertility clinic can feel like an overwhelming task. Starting a family is an intimate affair and doing so through a fertility clinic requires vulnerability. For parents who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community, there are often additional roadblocks to consider.
Whether intended parents need a gestational carrier or a sperm or egg donor, additional assistance is required. Although certain factors, such as a clinic's success rate, should be considered when choosing a fertility clinic, LGBTQ+ parents should also consider other aspects.
One of your first is if your fertility clinic offers services that cater to your fertility needs as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Of course, this becomes easy to figure out if you ask the right questions.
From financial planning to donor selection, here are six questions you can ask your fertility clinic to get more insight into their practices:
1. What is the clinic's involvement with the LGBTQ+ community?
Couples may find that choosing a clinic that already has experience working with the LGBTQ+ community will enhance their experience. Although it may not affect the overall process, it may allow parents to feel more comfortable. Ask how frequently the clinic works with LGBTQ+ couples and if they have any procedures in place to better serve LGBTQ+ couples.
2. Can the clinic refer you to attorneys to help you navigate any potential legal conflicts?
A common concern many LGBTQ+ couples face is the legal implications of using a donor or surrogate. Having an attorney who is familiar with medical and family law can help ease those concerns.
3. How do we select an egg donor?
Similar to finding a sperm bank, it is important for gay couples to understand where they will find an egg donor. Ask how you will be connected with a donor and how much you will know about them. Often, couples think their child will be similar to the egg donor, but the truth is, the child will be a result of the donor's entire gene pool. So it's important to ensure you will have access to your donor's family health history.
4. How do we select a gestational carrier?
Gay couples will also need to select a gestational carrier. Ask if your clinic connects you with gestational carriers, and if so, what costs are associated with the process and what legal protections the clinic has in place. Make sure you understand what evaluations the clinic requires gestational carriers to undergo before being considered a suitable choice.
Keep in mind that established surrogacy agencies like Hatch provide one all-inclusive fee to everything needed both medically and non-medically. This form of financial contract helps you avoid getting nickel and dimed through the process since there are a lot of costs involved regarding legal, travel, insurance, surrogate compensation, surrogate expenses, medications and more.
5. Does the clinic have a recommended sperm bank?
One of the most challenging tasks for lesbian couples who choose to use an unknown sperm donor is selecting a donor. Ask the clinic you are considering working with whether they can recommend a specific bank with a proven track record. If you plan to have multiple children, be sure to ask whether the bank allows you to use the same sperm donor for both children. Using a recommended sperm bank can make the parents feel more confident and reduce the possibility of issues in the future.
6. Whose egg should we use?
A common question lesbian couples face is selecting whose egg will be used and who will carry the baby. Often, couples who want to have two or more children plan to alternate egg donation. Some couples may want to have one partner donate the egg and the other partner carry the pregnancy. Other couples may choose to have one partner donate the eggs and have a gestational carrier fulfill the pregnancy.
Make sure to be candid about your wishes. Some clinics will only use one partner's eggs based on the quality of the eggs. Make sure everyone involved understands the process before electing to move forward with a clinic.
Understanding IVF, egg donation and surrogacy options for gay couples
If you're ready to start receiving personalized fertility care, PFCLA’s renowned doctors and compassionate care team can help you break your journey into small, manageable steps. So you can have the positive journey to parenthood that you deserve. Contact us today if you’re ready to grow your family. Our staff is eager to help you embark on your journey.
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