Treatments & Options - LGBT - Procedures

In this section, we discuss the steps lesbian and gay men may take when becoming parents. Here, we outline artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF) options for gay women, as well as surrogacy options for gay men. Adoption is also a great choice for both lesbians and gay men.

Family building procedures for lesbians
Choose your sperm donor
You may choose an anonymous donor from a sperm bank. A commercial sperm bank will give you very specific information about sperm donors, including ethnicity, higher education, occupation, physical characteristics, blood type and more. Most sperm banks will provide the donor profiles for a fee. Perhaps you already know who you would like to be your sperm donor. In this case, it is imperative that you work with an attorney. Donor insemination laws vary from state to state and often change.

Choose your method of insemination
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.

IVF may be desirable if your doctor suspects any kind of fertility problems. 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.

Family building options for gay men
Choose your surrogate
Gay men often become parents through surrogacy. In the surrogacy process, you will choose a woman (the carrier) who will become pregnant through artificial insemination or IVF. She becomes pregnant when her egg is fertilized by your sperm or your partner’s sperm (or a donor’s sperm if you choose). In this situation, the child is genetically related to the carrier. Another option, if you would prefer, is to use the egg of someone you know. Your carrier may become pregnant when your sperm fertilizes another woman’s egg using the IVF process. This can get pretty complex, but is a perfectly fine option.

Choose a team of professionals
If you choose surrogacy, you will need to decide whether to use an agency or do much of the work yourself. Working independently might save you money but agencies may help save your sanity. Legal guidance is essential to help you avoid complications along the way. Meet with a therapist, too. Counseling sessions can help you all maintain your boundaries and emotional health during this process.

Plan your budget
When you factor in the cost for the medical workup, legal fees, and fertility treatments, surrogacy can get pretty expensive. Expect to pay between $50,000 and over $100,000 for the arrangement.