At Cofertility, we believe in the equal right to parent. LGBTQ+ families have historically faced more rigorous scrutiny and challenges than heterosexual families regarding their rights to be or become parents. For example, discriminatory laws make it difficult in some states for both parents to be on the birth certificate, solely because of their gender. We stand by protections for LGBTQ+ parents and their children, and support all families equally.
For LGBTQ+ individuals and families, what once seemed to be impossible, is now possible. A same sex male couple now has the ability to have a genetically-related child using donor eggs and gestational surrogacy. A same sex female couple can have a child through Reciprocal IVF where one partner's eggs are used, and the other partner carries the pregnancy. Transgender men may choose to carry pregnancies and transgender people can pursue egg and sperm freezing before transitioning in order to preserve the option to be a genetic parent. Thanks to IVF and egg donation, more and more people now have the opportunity to build their dream families.
At Cofertility, we’re excited to guide you through the process and navigate it together. Below is a non-comprehensive and ever-changing guide of information and resources for families looking to start families.
LGBTQ+ parenting stats:
According to Family Equality:
- Between 2 million and 3.7 million children under age 18 have an LGBTQ+ parent
- Approximately 191,000 children are being raised by two same-sex parents
- 29% of LGBTQ+ adults are raising a child who is under 18
- Among LGBTQ+ adults under 50 living alone or with a spouse or partner, 48% of women and 20% of men are raising a child who is under 18 years old
- 25-50% of transgender individuals are parents
Children raised by LGBTQ+ families do well
Despite facing discrimination, research has found that children raised in same-sex parent families fare just as well as children raised in different-sex parent families across a wide spectrum of child well-being measures: academic performance, cognitive development, social development, psychological health, early sexual activity, and substance abuse.
Common questions LGBTQ+ families face:
- How will I (or we) become a parent?
- How important is it that I (or my partner) be biologically related to the child?
- Who will carry the pregnancy?
- Do we want to use an disclosed or undisclosed donor?
- What are the legal considerations for our family?
- How much will fertility treatments cost?
Family-building options for cisgender single men or same-sex male couples:
IVF with donor eggs
- Donor eggs can be from an egg donor match through Cofertility (or other egg donor matching service), or through a known donor, like a family member or friend
- Read the Gay Dad’s Guide to Egg Donation
Sperm from one or both partners
- Half the eggs can be fertilized from each partner, or all the eggs can be fertilized with sperm from one partner or a sperm donor
Family-building options for cisgender women and female same-sex couples:
- At-home insemination with donor sperm
- IUI with donor sperm
- IVF with donor sperm, donor embryo, or double-donor embryo
- Reciprocal IVF (where one partner's egg are used, and the other partner carries the pregnancy)
Family-building options for transgender men and transmasculine nonbinary individuals (AFAB)
According to ASRM, the majority (62%) of trans men desire children. However, gender affirming hormone therapy and surgery (eg. gonadectomy) may result in loss of fertility potential which may be reversible or irreversible.
While there is limited data on fertility preservation in transgender men, some choose to freeze eggs before transitioning. WPATH recommends that all transgender patients be counseled regarding options for fertility preservation (egg freezing) prior to transition. But even if this is not possible, transgender men still have many options for becoming parents:
- At-home insemination with donor or partner sperm (for individuals with ovaries and a uterus)
- IUI with partner or donor sperm
- IVF with sperm (from partner or donor) and eggs (donor, own, or partners)
- Pregnancy (for individuals who retained their uterus) or gestational surrogacy
Family-building options for transgender women and transfeminine nonbinary individuals (AMAB)
Transgender women and transfeminine nonbinary individuals (AMAB) can freeze sperm before transitioning. But even if they are not able to, there are other options including:
- IUI with partner’s womb using AMAB or donor sperm
- IVF with partner’s womb using AMAB sperm, donor sperm, donor embryo, or double-donor embryo
- Gestational surrogacy
Egg donation for LGBTQ+ parents:
Egg donation is when a female donates her eggs, via IVF, to enable another individual or couple to conceive. Our Family by Co platform serves as a more transparent, ethical egg donor matching platform. We work with anyone who is looking to build a family through egg donation. Whether you’re single or coupled, we do not discriminate, period. We believe the concept of “family” takes many forms, and we’re here to help your family grow, whatever that looks like.
LGBTQ+ family-building resources:
- The Gay Dad's Guide to Egg Donation was written by Dr. Saira Jhutty and discusses the process of using donor eggs to build a family.
- Connecting Rainbows is a resource for people in the LGBTQ+ community who are building their families. They're particularly knowledgeable on the topic of second-parent adoption.
- Family Equality is the leading national nonprofit organization advancing equality for LGBTQ+ families.
- Men Having Babies (MHB) is a non-profit dedicated to providing gay men with educational and financial support to achieve parenthood.
- The National Center for Lesbian Rights works to ensure that LGBTQ parents and their children are fully recognized as families under the law, including low-income parents using low-cost assisted reproduction, both married and unmarried parents, families with more than two parents, adoptive parents, and parents conceiving using surrogacy.
- Resolve vigilantly tracks state and federal legislation pertinent to LGBTQ+ family building across the United States, and works to support positive family building bills and to stop harmful legislation from being enacted. You can view the legislation they’re working on here.
- Trans Fertility Co. was created by trans community members to make the world of fertility easier to understand and navigate.
- Gay Parent Magazine: Gay Parent features personal stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents about their experiences with international and domestic adoption, foster care, donor insemination, using a surrogate and what it is like to raise their children.
- Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender (PFLAG): PFLAG is devoted to educating and supporting everyone involved in the life of a sexual minority individual. There are local chapters all over the United States
Family by Co is our human-centered matching platform for intended parents pursuing egg donation. We are obsessed with improving the family-building journey — today or in the future — and are in an endless pursuit to make these experiences more positive. Reach out if we can help.
Dr. Samuel Pang is a board certified OBGYN and subspecialty board certified reproductive endocrinologist at Boston IVF, in addition to being a Cofertility Founding Medical Advisor. He is currently the medical director of the Third Party Reproduction Team at Boston IVF – The Lexington Center. Dr. Pang attended the University of British Columbia and completed his internship and residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the University of Toronto. He completed his fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at UCLA. Dr. Pang joined IVF America Boston (later Reproductive Science Center of New England) in 1993 and was appointed Medical Director in 2007. He has been the director of the Third Party Reproduction program since 1997, serving patients who utilize IVF with donor eggs and/or gestational surrogacy to have children. In October 2014 he joined Boston IVF following a merger with RSCNE. Dr. Pang is a pioneer in providing reproductive care to LGBTQ+ patients. In 1998, he was among the earliest physicians applying Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) to gay men who sought parenthood via donor eggs and gestational surrogacy. In 2007, he began providing IVF services to lesbian couples without infertility, coining the term “reciprocal IVF” for one person providing oocytes and the other gestating. In 2012, he began treating transgender men for fertility preservation and reciprocal IVF, and transgender men who choose to gestate themselves. He was recently selected by American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) for their Arnold P. Gold Foundation Humanism in Medicine Award in 2022. As part of his work with Cofertility, Dr. Pang helps ensure that Cofertility remains on the forefront of advancements in reproductive technology and ethical issues, particularly as they pertain to LGBTQ+ intended parents. When he is not helping build other families, Dr. Pang spends time with his two sons who were conceived through IVF. He is truly able to appreciate the process of IVF treatment from both the patient and physician perspective.
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