Gay Mom-to-be? Yes, You Can Give Birth!
Even without a male partner, women today have several options to choose from when building their families. Gay women can become parents, too. If you are a gay woman hoping to have your own children, identify a sperm donor and choose from artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Important choices to make
Unfortunately gay moms do lack one key ingredient required for pregnancy: sperm. You will need to decide whether you will use a loved one as a sperm donor or pursue services from a sperm bank. Once you have decided this, you will need to figure out which type of insemination procedure to use. Artificial insemination is relatively affordable, and can be done at home or in a doctor's office. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is more costly, but may be the right choice for you if you have any health concerns. A visit with a fertility doctor may be helpful. He or she can make sure you are a good candidate for insemination, and can screen you for potential fertility problems.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a low-tech option to help you conceive. You can perform the insemination at home (turkey baster, anyone?) or at a doctor's office. If you choose a doctor's services, your doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina and place a thin catheter into your cervix. The sperm will be specially washed and prepared, and then injected into your uterus with a syringe. It usually goes pretty quickly and painlessly. If you choose this route, you will want to perform the insemination near the time you ovulate. A doctor can help you determine the best time for the procedure if you have irregular menstrual cycles. If you have regular cycles and are doing home insemination, you may be able to detect ovulation by using an ovulation predictor kit or tracking your basal body temperature (BBT). Artificial insemination success rates range from 8 to 15 percent each month, so do not get discouraged if it takes you a few months or more before becoming pregnant.
In vitro fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be desirable if your doctor suspects any kind of fertility problems. With IVF, the donor's sperm will be combined with your eggs, your partner's eggs, or a donor's eggs, in a Petri dish. After several days, once the eggs are fertilized and growing normally, the embryo(s) will be implanted into your uterus or frozen for later use. Some lesbian couples choose reciprocal IVF. In this process, one mom offers her eggs for fertilization. Once the egg is fertilized, it is then transferred into the other mom's uterus, and she will carry the baby to term. Reciprocal IVF can be emotionally and physically rewarding since both mothers get to enjoy active roles in the birth process. If you go this route, expect to undergo certain legal, health, and psychosocial evaluations.
Don't be discouraged if your journey to motherhood is more difficult or takes longer than expected. If you are a gay woman in need of social support on your parenthood journey, check out online virtual communities. Gay mommy bloggers abound, offering a variety of suggestions and tips to make your dreams of motherhood come true. While children raised by lesbian moms often live healthy, well-adjusted lives, pregnancy and parenthood is usually stressful for all parents-to-be. Before proceeding, consider meeting with a counselor to discuss your feelings, fears, and concerns about sperm donation and the emotional issues it might bring with it. Take care of your emotional and physical health, do your homework on fertility treatment options, and buckle up for an exciting ride.
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