Family is for everyone
Fertility options for everyone who wants to start a family, now or in the future
At CARE, we know that love makes a family. Our fundamental belief is ‘Family is for Everyone’, and we have been working every day for over 20 years to help all our patients have a baby. Whether you are single, or a heterosexual or same-sex couple, we can help you become a parent with our comprehensive range of fertility treatment options, our commitment to compassionate and highly-personalised treatment, and our world-leading science. If you’re not ready to have a family just yet, we can also help you preserve your fertility to give you your best chance when the time is right.
In this blog, we explain the main treatment options available for whatever your circumstances. However, we know that fertility is incredibly personal, which is why we believe in very individualised treatment. When you first come to your local CARE clinic, you will speak with the team about your needs and wishes, and we will then conduct the fertility investigations necessary to help plan your treatment. Your consultant will talk you through the results and your fertility treatment options. No matter your fertility concern or complication, our teams have advised many patients and helped over 50,000 babies come into the world, so you can be sure that we have the depth of experience to help you and maximise your chances of having a baby.
Starting a family as a heterosexual couple
Fertility treatment with donated eggs, sperm or embryos
Fertility treatment options for same-sex couples
Having a baby as a single patient
Preserving your fertility for the future
Fertility treatment options for heterosexual couples
There are many treatments and techniques we can use to help you have a baby. These treatment options are commonly used to help heterosexual couples, though the same process is often used in treatment for same-sex couples and single patients using donor eggs or sperm in treatment. Equally, there are many reasons why a heterosexual couple might need to use donated gametes or embryos in their treatment, such as if there is a problem with egg or sperm quality, and some people might need fertility treatment with the help of a surrogate. The important thing to remember is that we aim to help everyone have a baby using a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs, and we will guide you through your options.
Some patients may not realise that there are fertility treatment options to explore other than IVF, such as Intrauterine insemination (IUI). This is where a sperm sample is specially prepared and then placed inside the uterus, close to the eggs, at a time to maximise the chances of conception.
You can also explore IVF, where a woman’s ovaries are stimulated with medication to produce multiple mature eggs, which are carefully collected and then fertilised in the laboratory. Our expert embryologists will judge which of the developing embryos are most likely to develop into a healthy pregnancy, and that embryo is transferred back into the uterus. There is lots of information about IVF on our website, including details of how IVF works and the steps in having IVF treatment.
First pioneered in 1990 by our Founder and Head of Research and Development, Professor Simon Fishel, ICSI is a method of fertilising eggs that can be particularly beneficial for those who have male factor infertility. In IVF, an egg is fertilised by being placed into a petri dish with specially-prepared sperm, but with ICSI, we select the highest quality sperm from a sample and inject that single sperm directly into the egg. This can significantly improve the chances of successful fertilisation, especially for those who have an issue with sperm, such as a low sperm count or abnormal morphology.
Our aim is to help everyone have a healthy family, which is why we offer reproductive genetic testing. These advanced embryo analysis techniques, many of which have been developed by our CARE scientists, can identify embryos with the correct number of chromosomes (PGT-A), helping to prevent implantation failure or miscarriage, and can greatly reduce the risk of having a child born with serious, specific life-threatening genetic conditions, such as Cystic Fibrosis, through PGT-M.
Fertility treatment with donated eggs, sperm or embryos
Many patients need the help of a donor to help them have a baby. Some patients may need to use donor eggs due to declining egg quality, a genetic condition that can affect fertility, or you could need donor sperm if you are a same-sex couple or single patient. If you are unable to use your own eggs or sperm in fertility treatment, you can explore using donor eggs, donor sperm or donated embryos.
At CARE, we have many wonderful donors who selflessly choose to donate to help those who are unable use their own eggs, sperm or embryos to start a family. All of our donors have been carefully selected and thoroughly screened to ensure they are healthy, have good egg or sperm quality, no sexually transmitted infections, and have no personal or family history of genetically inherited conditions – all to help you choose your donor with confidence. Our donors are also registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
We understand that there is a lot to think about when considering fertility treatment using donor eggs, sperm or embryos, and our expert teams are here to provide you with clear advice, detailed information, and specialist support. This could include implications counselling with one of our specialist fertility counsellors, which will help you explore the potential implications of your treatment and help you be sure that your treatment is right for you.
There is advice on finding your donor below, as well as information about fertility treatment as a same-sex couple or a single patient, but you can also find answers to many of your questions in our Donation FAQs.
How do I find my egg, sperm or embryo donor?
You can know your donor (such as a friend or family member) or they can be ‘altruistic’, where you won’t personally know your donor. If you need help finding a donor, our dedicated Donation teams will speak with you to thoroughly understand the characteristics you are looking for, such as complexion or height and will support you in finding a match that meets your preferences.
If you need donor eggs, you can also look for your ideal egg donor in CARE’s own frozen egg bank – one of the largest in Europe – where you can browse and select from your own donor online. For most patients, there is zero waiting time to be matched to a donor, so we can help you take that next step quickly and with confidence.
If you are looking for a sperm donor, we can help match you with someone who fits your preferred characteristics, or you can search for a match from one of our partner sperm banks. Some patients may be recommended to find out more about treatment using embryos donated by couples who themselves have been through IVF treatment and wished for their remaining frozen embryos to help other patients achieve their dream of family.
Same sex couples
Many same-sex couples who come to CARE might not have a fertility complication, such as an issue with sperm quality; instead, they are missing an ingredient that is needed to help make their family.
How can we start a family as a same sex male couple?
If you have decided to start a family through IVF, your first step will be to find an egg donor. Our Donation teams have helped more patients start their family with donor eggs than any other UK clinic, and they will use all their experience to help you find the donor that is right for you.
You will also need a surrogate to help you with treatment, and this can again be someone you know, or someone you have found through a surrogacy agency. Our Surrogacy Coordinator will look after you and ensure you have the support and information needed to find a surrogate that is the perfect fit for your family.
IVF and surrogacy for gay men
Your treatment options, next steps, and how we can help you.
IVF with donor eggs
All about choosing your egg donor, the process of treatment, and CARE’s own bank of frozen eggs that are ready to be thawed for immediate treatment.
IVF with donor eggs FAQs
What information can I find out about my donor? What support can I get? We have answered your common questions in our IVF with donor eggs FAQs.
What are the fertility treatment options for same sex female couples?
Fertility treatment options for same sex female couples include Intrauterine Insemination and IVF, both using donor sperm. We can help you find a sperm donor, or you can select a donor yourself from one of our partner sperm banks.
Another treatment option for same sex female couples is Shared Motherhood. Sometimes known as intra-partner sharing, this treatment is where we collect an egg from one of you, which is then fertilised with donor sperm, with your partner then receiving the embryo and carrying the pregnancy. Shared motherhood is a wonderful way for you to share the experience of pregnancy as a couple and for you both to play an essential role in your journey to family.
How do we match you with a sperm donor?
Our Central Donor Bank Administrator explains how we find the right sperm donor match for you.
Jenna and Lydia's Shared Motherhood
CARE patients Jenna and Lydia share their story of becoming a family with donor sperm and Shared Motherhood.
You don’t need a partner to start your family. If you are looking to become a parent for the first time or wish to add another child into your family, there are many ways we can help make your dream a reality. We can talk you through your treatment options and will be there to support you throughout your journey with compassionate treatment, expert science, and specialist fertility counselling.
How can I start my family as a single woman?
As a single woman, you can choose to start your family whenever you feel ready by having treatment using donor sperm. As with all our patients who need donor sperm for treatment, your local Donation team will speak with you about what you are looking for in a donor, such as their eye colour and height. We will talk you through potential donors who fit your preferred characteristics as closely as possible. You can also look for donor sperm yourself from our partner sperm banks, which we can then use in Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or IVF treatment at CARE.
What are the fertility treatment options for single men?
Fertility treatment for single men is very similar to treatment for male same sex couples. We can support you in finding your ideal egg donor, and we will then fertilise those eggs with your sperm, with a surrogate carrying your embryo. If you have not yet found the right surrogate for you, we could also freeze your embryos until you a ready to continue treatment. In your initial consultation, your CARE fertility specialist will talk you through what is involved in each treatment option so you have all the information you need to take your next steps.
I’m not ready to start my family. How can I preserve my fertility?
If you would like to have a family in the future, we can help to preserve your fertility, giving you the reassurance that you will have your best chance of conceiving when you are ready. Some patients may also wish to explore fertility preservation if they are having medical treatment which could affect their fertility. Using the advanced ‘flash-freeze’ process of vitrification, we can preserve your eggs or freeze your sperm, ready to be thawed for immediate treatment at your convenience in the future. We could also create embryos using the eggs and sperm of you and your partner, or with the help of a donor, and freeze those embryos, ready for a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), where we carefully warm the embryo and place it into the womb at the ideal time for successful conception.
Could egg freezing be right for me?
Your questions answered about the egg freezing process, using those eggs in treatment, costs and success rates.
Why do I need to freeze my sperm?
Though sperm does not decrease in quality as significantly as eggs do over time, some men may benefit from freezing their sperm.
What's involved in freezing my embryos?
Everything you need to know about freezing embryos and using them in treatment.
How do you freeze eggs, sperm and embryos?
Watch how we freeze your eggs, sperm and embryos using vitrification.
Your need for family is at the heart of everything we do, and your dedicated local CARE team can help you start your family with uncompromising excellence, determination and truly exceptional patient care.
If you would like to learn more about CARE or how we can help you, please get in touch with our patient enquiry team, who will happily answer all your questions and book you in for an appointment with one of our consultants.