There are many options available for LGBTQ+ couples who want to build a family. Adoption and fostering to adopt are two beautiful paths to parenthood. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF), among other technologies, are an option for couples who would like to have a genetic link to their baby. In this article we’ll outline all same sex family building options to empower you as you research this next stage.

Non-biological family building options

In the US alone, there are over 100,000 children waiting to be adopted into a loving home. 21.4% of same sex couples with children built their families through adoption.

LGBTQ+ Adoption:  In some states, it can be more difficult to find an agency that is willing to match with an LGBTQ+ couple, however there are many resources available to help you navigate private and public adoption and all related laws.

Foster to Adopt: Fostering with the intention of adopting can be a beautiful, rewarding journey. Working with reputable agencies can help you experience a smoother process.

Family building options for lesbian couples

There are a number of options you can consider, depending on your budget, overall health and your reproductive health. Your first step is to consult with your OBGYN or fertility specialist who will be able to narrow down your options. Age plays a role here, as the younger the woman is, the higher the chance of a successful pregnancy.

At home insemination with donor sperm: You can either ask someone you know to donate sperm (it’s important to ensure that all paperwork is done in advance), or buy sperm from a sperm bank.   

IUI with donor sperm: Frozen sperm from a donor is thawed and inserted directly into one partner’s womb at a fertility clinic. The partner that provides the egg also carries the pregnancy.

Reciprocal IVF: Also known as partner IVF, or co-maternity IVF, this family building method allows both partners to contribute to their family building process. One partner provides the egg, and the other partner carries. The process requires in vitro fertilization, which can be quite expensive.

Family building options for gay couples

For male same sex couples wanting to build a biological family, the process includes egg donation, IVF, and surrogacy.

Select an egg donor: There are three categories of egg donors: anonymous, open-door and known. Many opt for an anonymous donor, but there are some couples who prefer to work with a known egg donor and retain contact with her throughout the child’s life.

In vitro fertilization: A single sperm is used to fertilize an egg from the egg donor. You can choose to have half the eggs fertilized with one partner’s sperm, and the other half with sperm from the other partner.

Select a gestational carrier: A gestational carrier is a woman who will carry your embryo. The carrier is not genetically related to the baby. The baby’s genetic connection is to the egg donor. A surrogacy agency can help ensure that the entire process is done safely and securely for all involved. Surrogacy requires a substantial financial (and emotional) commitment so it’s important to research your options and fertility providers thoroughly.

With the right support, LGBTQ+ family building can be a beautiful experience and one which leads you to the family you’ve always dreamed of. Good luck!

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