19/10/2023 - 6 min read
LGBTQIA+ paths to parenthood
In today’s ever-evolving world, the paths to parenthood for the LGBTQIA+ community have become more diverse and empowering than ever before. We believe that family is for everyone, regardless of relationship status, sexual orientation or gender. From same-sex couples to transgender and non-binary individuals, we’re proud to offer personalised treatment plans to make dreams of family a reality.
When it comes to building a family, understanding what fertility options are available is key. Over the years, the LGBTQIA+ community has witnessed incredible progress when it comes to fertility options. Thanks to advancements in reproductive technology, individuals and couples from all sexual orientations and gender identities now have a range of empowering paths to parenthood. Whether it’s same sex male couples exploring the possibilities of IVF & Surrogacy, same-sex female couples considering IVF using donor sperm or transgender and non-binary people considering fertility preservation prior to commencing hormone therapy or surgery, the journey to parenthood has become more accessible than ever before.
Whether you're ready to start a family, future planning or just curious, understanding and being in control of your fertility is really important. We want to empower all patients in the LGBTQIA+ community to make more informed decisions about all aspects of fertility, not just when they’re ready to start a family. Let's take a look at what options are available for:
Male couples & single men
If you’re not quite ready to start a family just yet, fertility preservation is a crucial consideration for couples/single men planning to start a family in the future. Sperm freezing and storage is a hugely popular option that allows men to preserve their sperm and maintain the option of parenthood later on in life. This involves collecting and freezing sperm samples, which can be stored for up to 55 years, that can be used in treatments such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), or used in Surrogacy.
Over the years, surrogacy has become a remarkable path to parenthood that has brought joy and hope to countless couples and individuals. Through the generosity of surrogates, this life changing journey has allowed gay men and male couples to fulfill their dreams of parenthood. Surrogacy involves a legal arrangement where a woman (known as the gestational carrier/surrogate mother), carries a pregnancy on behalf of the intended parents. For male couples, this treatment allows one partner's sperm to be used with a donor egg & transferred into the surrogate's uterus through IVF. Surrogacy offers gay men the chance to experience the incredible journey of biological parenthood, whether your parenthood journey involves a partner or you’re embarking on this journey as a single parent.
Surrogacy also requires the use of donor eggs, you can either use a ‘known donor’ or access the Care egg bank. The aim of our egg bank is to give our patients a wide choice of donors with little or no wait. You will be able to select your egg donor online and then have your treatment at one of our world leading clinics. As a leading provider of egg donation treatment in Europe, we truly understand our patient's needs and care about your future family. We have meticulously crafted our cutting-edge egg banking and donation programme with you in mind. We freeze eggs with a process called vitrification that allows eggs to be frozen and thawed successfully without being damaged. This method freezes eggs instantly at -196⁰C using liquid nitrogen and is so effective that an estimated 97% of eggs survive the freeze-thaw process.
Thousands of babies have now been born worldwide from treatment using previously-frozen eggs. Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, using frozen donor eggs offers a more flexible approach to treatment. Embryo transfers can be done immediately, in line with natural cycles or at a time that best suits you. Using frozen eggs also gives patients more certainty, not only is there a shorter waiting time for treatment, but because we have already carefully collected and frozen the eggs the risk of treatment disruptions (as sometimes experienced with fresh eggs) is little to none.
Female couples & single women
If you’re not quite ready to start a family just yet, fertility preservation is a crucial consideration for couples/single women planning to start a family in the future. For LGBTQIA+ females, the most common method of fertility preservation is egg freezing. Whether you’re planning to conceive with a partner or as a single parent, egg freezing allows patients to proactively plan for their future family. This involves retrieving eggs from the ovaries, freezing them and storing them for later use. The standard storage period for eggs is 55 years, requiring a renewal of consent every 10 years, but there may be circumstances in which your eggs can be stored for longer (e.g. for those women at risk of becoming prematurely infertile due to medical reasons). When you feel ready to start your path to parenthood, your eggs will be thawed to be fertilized with sperm (from a donor or partner) and transferred into the uterus through IVF.
Thanks to advancements in reproductive technology, Shared Motherhood (also known as reciprocal IVF), is an innovative treatment that allows both partners in a same-sex female couple to experience and share their journey to parenthood. This incredible treatment option enables one partner to provide the eggs, which are then fertilized with donor sperm, and transferred to the other partner's uterus and who then carries the baby as the ‘gestational or birth mother’.
Transgender & Non-binary people
Navigating through the trans journey can be a difficult, challenging, and overwhelming experience when you're living in a body that doesn't reflect your authentic self. Although it's likely that fertility is the last thing on your mind, we're here to help answer any of your fertility questions.
If you are planning to start your transitioning journey, it is important to consider what impact the treatments associated with transitioning will have on your fertility. These effects may be irreversible, so if in the future you wish to have children, preserving your fertility may be the answer.
When you feel ready to start the next stage of your fertility journey, there are a number of future treatment options. These range from treatments such as IVF and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), to surrogacy and using donor eggs/sperm. Our doctors will discuss all available options with you at your first consultation.
One of the most important things you can do during your fertility journey is have a support system. Support comes in many forms: friends, family and even those who are not directly involved in your journey can help make you feel less alone and more supported.
Whether you’re ready to start a family, trying to conceive or going through treatment, we believe that every person deserves access to the best fertility care available – and that includes accessible treatment options, a supportive community and helpful resources. Our goal is to help you feel confident about your choices and be empowered by the knowledge and support our dedicated team provides.