John M. Norian, MD FACOG, a double board certified reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility, is passionate about helping the LGBTQ community build families.
You’re probably flipping through this edition of THE FIGHT, reading about family planning and asking yourself, “are fertility treatments really for me?” The short answer is yes!
While lesbian women often start with donor sperm intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) offers the best success rates. With IVF, Reproductive Endocrinologists are able to precisely fertilize a woman’s own eggs with donor sperm, then allow the fertilized egg or embryo to develop to the blastocyst stage, which is a day 5 or 6 embryo. Lesbian couples may also choose to conceive through Reciprocal IVF, using one partner’s eggs and the other partner’s uterus to carry the pregnancy. This way, both future moms are genetically connected in part to the child.
Conversely, gay men will use their biologic sperm in conjunction with an egg donor and a separate gestational carrier. Many gay male couples will use the same egg donor so that their children are genetically related siblings. In these instances, full clearances are obtained for both, the egg donors and the gestational carriers, prior to starting any treatment. These include rigorous medical screenings including infectious disease, genetics, psychological assessments, and important legal clearances. Taken together, these pre-treatment requirements help to ensure both the highest level of patient safety and the healthiest outcomes.
Medically speaking, optimal gestational carriers are healthy, have had a prior uncomplicated pregnancy or pregnancies without too many prior Cesarean sections, and are of a healthy weight. Different states in the U.S. have different laws relating to surrogacy, so having capable professionals and surrogacy agencies involved ensures the safest and healthiest outcomes for the babies and future parent(s).
In either case, selecting an optimal egg or sperm donor can be tricky, especially if you are in a relationship. Future parents are shown childhood and adult photographs of the donors, learn about their physical traits (e.g., hair color, eye color, height, weight, and ethnic background), and are able to review essays and psychological assessments describing their personality and character traits. Couples sometimes choose to provide their own donors, who may be a family member or friend.
Now you may be reading this and asking yourself, “I am HIV positive. Are fertility treatments an option for me?” The short answer is yes, again. Using advanced reproductive techniques, combined with laboratory testing and preventative medications, your trusted Reproductive Endocrinologist can help ensure the safety for the child and gestational carrier to avoid contracting the infection.
You’re not alone. Consider your options.
John M. Norian, MD FACOG is a double board certified reproductive endocrinologist at HRC Fertility. He is passionate about helping the LGBTQ community build families with assistance and the use of advanced medical technologies. HRC Fertility (HRC) is one of the largest providers of advanced fertility treatment in the world and has been a leader in perfecting new fertility treatments and procedures for over 30 years.
Dr. Norian offers new patient consultations out
of his Rancho Cucamonga and Pasadena offices. For more information on scheduling a consultation, please visit: www.havingbabies.com/locations/rancho-cucamonga.