SINGLE AND SAME SEX COUPLES FERTILITY OPTIONS
Barbados Fertility Centre is a progressive and impartial innovative fertility clinic. Our caring and supportive staff are committed to offering all our patients the best chance of having a baby regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation. We have long been treating single and same sex couples who wanted to start a family and have helped many of them to realize that dream.
We know that fertility options and issues facing single men and women and gay couples may be quite different from those available to traditional families. In addition to a host of medical treatment options that require a deep understanding, there are financial, legal and emotional obstacles that require special attention and knowledge.
This blog aims to present clearly all the options available.
Reproductive options for lesbian or single women
The first step is ALWAYS a correct Diagnosis & fertility assessment
An accurate understanding of your fertility is key, and we have invested in the highest levels of technology and expertise to accurately predict your chances of getting pregnant and make recommendations for improving or preserving your fertility. The doctor will take your medical history, request several tests to assess your ovarian reserve, check your womb and tubes for obstructions. With all these information, our doctors will be able to tell you your fertility status and advise you on how to optimize your chances. Other more complex diagnostic investigations can be prescribed if required.
Artificial Insemination with Donor Sperm
In the vast majority of cases reproductive options for lesbian couples or single women involves sperm donation only.
Donor insemination is a simple procedure, which requires the pre-selection of frozen sperm from a sperm bank, or from a known sperm donor. A known sperm donor will normally require a full panel of infectious disease screening before sperm can be deemed eligible for insemination.
There are many sperm banks that we work with who you can select your anonymous donor. These banks boast an extensive list of screened anonymous sperm donors to include information such as ethnic background, body build, eye and hair colour, skin tone as well as education, profession and hobbies, among other details and attributes.
The chosen donor sperm is purchased in vials, and can be stored and thawed as required. Insemination can be performed during a natural menstrual cycle, or a cycle in which ovulation is enhanced by oral medication or injectable ovulation induction agents. These medications can significantly increase pregnancy success and often shorten the duration of treatment.
Combining sperm donation with assisted reproductive technology
In vitro fertilization (IVF) may be performed in women of advanced reproductive age or those experiencing tubal factor or other types of infertility. In IVF a woman’s ovaries are stimulated with hormone injections to induce the growth of multiple eggs at once. This is followed by an egg harvesting procedure, which is conducted trans-vaginally with ultrasound guidance and under sedation. The eggs are then fertilized with the donor sperm to create embryos, which are transferred into the recipient’s uterus three to five days later.
A number of same-sex couples choose to do egg-share. Egg sharing is where the eggs of one partner are used in an IVF cycle to create embryos that are then transferred into the womb of the other partner, with the effect that one partner is the birth mother and the other partner is the genetic mother.
This is a beautiful process that enables motherhood to be a shared experience right from conception and allows both parents to have a unique linkage to the baby.
Egg freezing empowers women to keep their fertility options open and offers the possibility of starting a family when they are ready without worrying about their biological clock. Many women find this a reassuring step to take.
This process required the same ovarian stimulation used in IVF to induce multiple eggs growth simultaneously. These eggs are then retrieved and stored at our clinic until the time is right to have a child.
Women may also choose to freeze their eggs if they are about to undergo medical treatment that may affect fertility.
Reproductive options for gay or single men
Reproductive care for gay couples and single men requires the services of both an egg donor and a gestational surrogate, however due to legislation in Barbados this is not a service we offer at Barbados Fertility Centre.
A gestational carrier surrogacy is when a woman (called a gestational carrier) becomes pregnant after an embryo is transferred into her uterus. The embryo was created from another woman’s eggs and fertilized with the sperm of one of the partner, and so the gestational carrier is not genetically related to the child. After birth, she gives the child to the biological father. The treatment process involves stimulating the egg donor’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs, harvesting of the eggs, fertilization of the eggs with sperm, and embryo transfer into the designated surrogate’s uterus.
Egg donors may be anonymous or known. In known egg donation, if the egg donor is related to one of the men in a gay relationship, sperm from the other male partner is used to fertilize the eggs, creating a genetic link in the offspring to both intended fathers.
Research supports extended families
We believe a family is a unit where adults care for children with love that might be two mums living together, or two dads. It might mean a single gay or lesbian parent. It might mean there are surrogates and donors involved. And research over the past 30 years supports us.
Many studies show no difference in outcomes between children raised by heterosexual parents and children raised by parents of the same sex. On the contrary, children of same-sex parents are likely to develop respect for diversity and become resilient to discrimination.
Specifically, there are no differences in how well they do at school, in how physically competent they are, and in the development of their emotions and behaviors.
Children from same sex-couple families play the same gender-typical games that other boys and girls play. They are just as comfortable as other children with their gender as a male or female.
So, don’t be afraid to express your desire to have a child, this is absolutely natural. The intrinsic desire to procreate doesn’t go away just because you are gay and like heterosexuals, same sex couple may wish to have a baby with some of their own physical traits or carry on family lines. As you can see, there are many options, you just need to contact us, we will advise on the best treatment for your specific case and we will help you to realize your dreams.
– Dr Corona