For Same-Sex Male Couples: What Is Involved in Starting a Family? Where to Begin?
For so many individuals the goal of parenthood is a given. In fact, it’s very likely you’ve always imagined yourself raising a child or children, long before you came to understand your own sexuality. No matter if you identify as same-gender attracted or transgendered, you do have options should you want to have a baby-probably more than you realize.
Obviously reproduction requires both biological genders. For male couples it is a little more difficult as you need to enlist the assistance of a gestational carrier to carry your baby to term. Biologically male couples who wish to have a child will also need an egg donor. Both the gestational carrier and the donor can be a medically approved friend or family member, or you can choose either or both from outside your personal circle.
The sperm to be used for fertilization will be analyzed for motility, volume, concentration and morphology. For couples, both partners can volunteer a sample and then decide. Once the sperm has been tested for viability and the egg donor and gestational carrier are decided upon, you may proceed with IVF.
Why Choose Both Donor Egg and Gestational Carrier?
Some couples wonder at the reasoning behind using donated eggs and a separate gestational carrier. It seemingly makes more sense to artificially inseminate a surrogate who will use her own eggs. However, the legal and psychological ramifications of such an arrangement are often difficult and complex.
A gestational carrier’s role, albeit extremely generous and unselfish, is to carry the baby and give birth. The intended parents’ names go on the birth certificate and there are really no legal grey areas as there are in traditional surrogacy.
In Vitro Fertilization for same-sex male couples involves using a donor egg and fertilizing it with the sperm from one or both fathers. If successful, IVF usually results in multiple embryos. You can opt for preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) to rule out any embryos which may carry a chromosomal defect. The viable, healthy embryos are then implanted into your gestational carrier’s uterus to develop.
For some same-sex male couples using sperm may not be an option, for various reasons. You can opt to use IVF with a donated embryo. These embryos are often donated by couples who have used IVF as a means to conceive and have additional embryos they aren’t planning to use.
Just as with conventional IVF, the embryo is implanted in your gestational carrier. Your baby will have no genetic connection to either of you.
Genetically Connected on Both Sides
Some couples in a same-sex partnership are able to have a baby who shares genetic connections with both parents. This can be done by using the donated egg of a sister, cousin or other biological family member of one partner and the sperm of the other partner.
While this option sounds like a wonderful way to ensure both partners have a genetic connection to their child, it can be somewhat tricky to navigate. First, it’s necessary to have a biological relative who is willing to donate her eggs, going through the somewhat intense process leading up to harvesting the eggs for IVF. Second, it can be complicated. Even with the clear understanding that the relative donating the egg is not considered a parent and will not have any rights or responsibilities as such, relationships can get muddied.
Should you decide to go down this path to parenthood you must seek psychological and legal counseling prior to making your decision.
Begin With a Professional Consultation
For those same-sex male couples who are in a committed relationship and are ready to commence down the path to starting a family, we recommend you come and meet with our fertility and reproduction specialists. We can answer any questions or concerns you may have and, together, we will determine the best next steps for you and your partner to become parents.