Family Building Options for LGBTQ+ New Yorkers
At NYU Langone Fertility Center, we value all families with an understanding of the love and commitment it takes to make one. We are proud to serve all members of the LGBTQ community: we work with all individuals, straight, gay, married, unmarried, partnered or single, to translate the love they feel into the family they desire. We’ve been leading the way in New York City since we were founded, seeing the changes both social and technological, that have made modern family building possible for ALL people to achieve the dream of parenthood.
Every path to parenthood is different, and LGBTQ family building is no exception. What pathway to gay parenting is right for your future family? Donor Sperm + Your Egg? Donor Sperm + Your Partner's Egg? Your Sperm + a Donor Egg? Your Partner's Sperm + a Donor Egg? Donor Eggs + Donor Sperm? Who will be carrying the pregnancy—you? Your Partner? A gestational carrier? The embryo creation and embryo transfer process will depend upon which options you select in partnership with your physician. Every family is unique—there is no "One-Size-Fits-All" approach to family building. We’re here to break down a few of the most common paths to gay parenting for LGBTQ patients.
Reciprocal IVF (“Co-Maternity”)
Reciprocal IVF, often chosen by same-sex-female couples on their journey to gay parenting, is a process through which one partner acts as the egg donor, and the other partner acts as the gestational carrier. In a reciprocal IVF cycle, we can stimulate one partner to produce eggs, as per our standard IVF process. Once the eggs are retrieved from the egg-donating partner, they can be combined with donor sperm to create embryos. While the egg-donating partner completes the ovarian stimulation and retrieval process, we can prepare the gestating partner's uterus to receive an embryo. The gestating partner will take fertility medication to suppress her own ovulation process and prepare the uterus for embryo transfer. Once the embryo is transferred, the gestating partner can carry the pregnancy, give birth, and breast feed the baby.
Surrogacy & Gestational Carriers
For patients unable to carry a pregnancy, such as single men or same-sex-male couples, the NYU Langone Fertility Center can work with you to identify a gestational surrogate to carry your baby. A gestational surrogate is a woman who agrees to become pregnant by receiving an embryo transfer from an individual or couple who created an embryo using their own gametes ("autologous IVF"), donor eggs, donor sperm, or some combination of autologous and donor tissue. Prior to any embryo transfer into a gestational surrogate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandates extensive screening for both the sperm and egg source, involving a questionnaire, physical exam, and blood tests. The gestational surrogate must also pass a physical and psychological examination. Patients using a gestational surrogate will have the support of a dedicated care team including a physician, donor tissue specialist, genetic counselor, psychologist, several nurses, coordinators, and medical and administrative assistants, all of whom are here to help patients navigate every step of their journey to gay parenting!
Patients (individuals or couples) with ovaries and/or a uterus have several options when it comes to family building using donor sperm. At NYULFC, we work with single cis-females, lesbian couples, and members of the trans community to help build beautiful families achieve their dream of gay parenting through Donor Sperm Insemination, Donor Sperm + IVF, and Donor Sperm + Reciprocal IVF. Patients who choose to use an anonymous sperm donor obtain frozen samples from licensed sperm banks, which must be located in the United States. NYU Langone Fertility Center does not own or operate a sperm bank, however our Donor Egg & Third-Party Reproduction team will be happy to assist you in finding this resource. Sperm banks can vary widely with regard to donor information, identity, ethnicity and medical history; as well as in the number of available donors and certified sperm banks must meet specific requirements for donor screening. Our patients may choose most any certified sperm bank. Patients are responsible for selecting the given donor and paying the sperm bank directly for the sperm and shipping.
Individuals or couples with XY reproductive anatomy – meaning the patient and their partner (if applicable) do not possess ovaries and/or a uterus – must grow their family with the help of donor eggs. We understand that the decision to build your family with the help of an egg donor is both an emotional and a medical journey. At NYU Langone Fertility Center, we maintain the highest level of discretion and support for both patients and donors. Our dedicated in-house Donor Egg team assists patients, locally and internationally, with the selection of the right egg donor for each family to fulfil their dreams of gay parenting.
When it comes to donor egg services, you have options. In a “fresh egg donation cycle,” a pre-screened and approved egg donor is stimulated here at NYU Langone Fertility Center. Once the egg retrieval procedure is complete, the donor eggs are immediately fertilized with sperm from the intended parent or sperm donor. This is different from a “frozen egg donation cycle,” where frozen eggs from a pre-screened, approved egg donor are thawed at NYU Langone Fertility Center, then fertilized with sperm from the intended parent or sperm donor. In a frozen egg donation cycle, the frozen eggs may be from a donor stimulated here at NYU Langone Fertility Center, or from a donor available through one of our egg bank partners: MyEggBank or Fairfax Egg Bank. Whether your choose to pursue a fresh or frozen egg donation cycle, our Donor Egg team will work with you to identify the best fit for your family.