Single people and same sex couples that would like to have children that are theirs, biologically, can use this blog as a guide to starting the single and same sex parenting process.
Same-Sex Male Couples or Single Male Intended Parents
Typically, in a same-sex male couple, or a single male cycle, what are needed is an egg donor and a gestational carrier.
In a same-sex male couple, one or both of the partners may provide the sperm for the cycle. The sperm provider, or providers, will be tested in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations set forth by ASRM, SART, and the FDA. If both partners have normal semen analysis results, they can freeze a sample to be used for the cycle or they can produce on the morning of the egg donor’s retrieval.
Some men prefer to have a frozen sample as a backup in case there is an issue on the morning of the retrieval. Some of the men do not live in the area so freezing a sample simplifies the cycle for them. Your fertility clinic will be able to use either a frozen or fresh sample based on what is the most comfortable and convenient.
It is not uncommon in a same-sex male plan for both male partners to provide the sperm for fertilization of the donated eggs. It also is not uncommon for a viable blastocyst (embryo) from each partner to be transferred into the uterus of the gestational carrier.
Most commonly, for a same-sex male couple, or a single male intended parent, the journey starts with finding an appropriate egg donor. Once you have the egg donor lined up, then you start looking for a gestational carrier. Your fertility specialists will usually coordinate all aspects of the process, and keep in constant contact with all of the parties involved.
Every person involved in this cycle will know what he should be doing, where they should be doing it, and what they should be doing next. The term “all parties involved” does not mean only the male(s), the egg donor, and the surrogate. It also can include the egg donor’s agency and the gestational carrier’s agency.
Same-Sex Female Couples or Single Female Intended Parents
Same-sex female couples and single female intended parents are often assumed to be the “easy cycles”. A woman has her own eggs. She also has her own uterus. All she needs is a sperm donor, right? That’s not always the case.
Single female intended parents might have fertility issues of their own. Obviously they will need a sperm donor. Maybe they need an egg donor. Maybe they need a gestational carrier. Maybe they need both.
A fertility specialist can screen the single female intended parent and discuss the results and options available to her.
Same-sex female couple cycles have options as well. It isn’t always as simple as needing a sperm donor. It is not uncommon for one partner to provide the eggs and the other partner to carry the pregnancy.
In cases where a sperm donor is needed and the female that plans to carry the pregnancy also is going to provide the eggs for the cycle, an intrauterine insemination (IUI) will be performed. This involves testing on the female to ensure that she can carry a pregnancy, that her egg quality is normal, and that her tubes are open.
If one partner is providing eggs and the other plans on carrying the pregnancy, in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be the procedure needed for this cycle. We would stimulate and retrieve the eggs from the first partner, fertilize them with donor sperm, and transfer them into the uterus of the other female partner.
Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.