Blog > Fertility options for same-sex, gay couples

Fertility options for same-sex, gay couples

We proudly offer a variety of fertility treatments for same-sex couples wishing to become parents. From IVF for same-sex couples to adoption, this page outlines the main pathways and fertility considerations for gay couples.

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Written by Apricity Team

Table of Contents

    Surrogacy for same-sex couples

    Surrogacy is the main pathway that couples in a male, same-sex relationship choose to have a baby. In surrogacy, a woman carries and gives birth to a baby for another person or couple. There are two types of surrogacy: gestational surrogacy, and partial surrogacy.

    In gestational surrogacy (also known as host surrogacy) for same-sex male couples, the eggs of a donor (or the intended mother, if in a co-parenting agreement with more than two people) are mixed in vitro with the sperm of one of the fathers. There is no genetic link between the baby and the surrogate.

    In partial surrogacy (also known as traditional surrogacy), the surrogate’s eggs are fertilised using one of the intended father’s sperm.

    In both types of surrogacy, one intended father would provide his sperm to fertilise an egg. It is important that this is done at a fertility clinic to ensure that all parties receive comprehensive screening and preparation for the pregnancy. 

    There are specialist surrogacy charities, agencies and legal specialists to ensure that you have all the information and support you need before making a decision. While Apricity cannot assist with finding surrogates, we are leaders in IVF for same-sex couples and can help you in your fertility treatment journey, from diagnostics to finding egg donors, completing medical screening to ensure they are fit to donate, and embryology. This is outlined for you below. 

    Diagnostic fertility assessment for men

    It is important to assess a man’s sperm ahead of surrogacy treatment to ensure there are no issues that could make conception more difficult.

    • Our male and male same-sex fertility test package includes two semen analyses that test the key indicators for sperm health: morphology (sperm appearance), concentration (number of sperm) and motility (movement of sperm). Our diagnostic package also includes a post-results consultation to ensure you understand your results and have the opportunity to ask questions on next steps.

    • You may only wish to test one man, or one man at a time. For this, our male fertility test package can be used. If you are unsure which man will use sperm for treatment, we recommend testing both.

    If you are considering surrogacy, our diagnostics for men are a great first step. Ensuring that suitable sperm is used in treatment will ensure that the surrogate has the best chance at pregnancy.

    Finding an egg donor (gestational surrogacy)

    If you choose gestational surrogacy, you will need donor eggs for your treatment. You may know someone who wants to donate their eggs (known donation), or you can seek an egg donation agency to find you an anonymous egg donor. If your surrogate is donating her eggs for your treatment (partial/traditional surrogacy), the next section does not apply.

    Known Egg Donation

    It’s really important (and a legal requirement) that egg donors (known or anonymous) receive implications counselling and understand the fertility treatment they will undergo to donate their eggs. They should also have medical screening to ensure they are healthy and fit to donate, and will not pass on any conditions or infectious diseases. 

    We can arrange this for you if you are using a known egg donor. Get in touch with us for more information. 

    Anonymous egg donation

    Our egg donation services has the best success rates in the country (79%) ten years in a row. We lead the way in anonymous, 1:1 egg donation and is ready to find you the perfect anonymous egg donor. Unlike an egg bank, all of our donor’s eggs go to a recipient or recipient couple, giving an excellent chance at pregnancy and the opportunity for genetically-related siblings.

    IVF for same-sex couples (surrogacy)

    IVF is one of the final parts of fertility treatment in surrogacy. In gestational or partial  surrogacy, the egg donor (anonymous, known or surrogate) will undergo the first part of an IVF cycle, having injections to stimulate egg production and scans to ensure follicles (where eggs grow) are maturing correctly. Around two weeks after the first injection, eggs will be collected and placed in petri dishes with sperm for fertilisation. 

    After around five days when embryos have formed, a healthy embryo is selected for implantation to the surrogate, and any leftover embryos can be frozen for future use and genetically-related siblings.

    IUI for same-sex couples (for partial surrogacy)

    In this case, we would also recommend a female diagnostics assessment ahead of the procedure. IUI has a lower chance of success for couples with fertility issues, whether on the male or the female side.

    IVF + ICSI for same-sex couples 

    If you have a diagnostic assessment ahead of treatment, you will know if there are any morphology, motility or concentration issues with the sperm you wish to use. This may be a factor in the decision of which man’s sperm you choose for treatment. There are also other ways to help sperm fertilise eggs, such as ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection). 

    From a patient perspective, ICSI is just like IVF. However, in the laboratory, there is an extra step in ICSI. Sperm is selected and injected into or close to the egg to facilitate fertilisation that may not happen in vitro. 

    Co-Parenting and Single Fatherhood

    In co-parenting, 2 or more people team up to parent children together. Co-parents do not have sole custody of the child, so it’s advised to seek legal advice when planning. Co-parenting arrangements can be made between 2 single people, 2 couples, or a single person and a couple.

    Single fatherhood is also an option. You would have the same options as a same-sex couple, but you would have sole custody of the child at the end of the surrogacy journey. 

    Surrogacy is just one path to parenthood, and where fertility treatments like IVF can help LGBT+ couples build families. Many same-sex couples also choose adoption and fostering.

    Adoption or fostering for LGBT+ couples

    Adoption or fostering can be incredibly rewarding ways to become parents together. 

    According to UK Charity New Family Social, 1 in 6 adoptions in England in 2020 were to  same-sex couples. 

    Same-sex couples in the UK can apply to adopt through a local authority or an adoption agency. There are specific assessments and training that you will have to undertake, with the help of a social worker. 

    Adoption and fostering are not services that Apricity offer, however the following resources may be useful if you are considering adoption:

    • New Family Social, the charity for LGBT+ adoptive and foster parents

    • Adoption UK, the leading charity providing support and community for everyone parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth families

    • First4adoption is the national information service for people interested in adopting a child in England

    Get in touch

    If you choose fertility treatment to become a parent, there are several reasons that make Apricity a fantastic IVF choice for LGBT+ couples:

    • Our relationship with Altrui Egg Donation means we are the very best partners to a successful pregnancy with the help of an egg donor

    • Our first class medical team will look after you and your donor during fertility treatment

    • Our 7-day-a-week fertility advisors are there to answer questions and provide support, so you’re never in the dark

    If you would like to speak to us about one of our egg donation packages, please get in touch.

    Written by Apricity Team

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