As a same-sex male couple, you know your path to parenthood looks different than it does for heterosexual couples. Biology alone makes that obvious! But that doesn’t mean you and your partner can’t become parents. Through advanced reproductive medicine you do have options. Here’s a peek inside the process for same-sex male couples who want to have a child.
The Very First Step? A Wellness Check-Up
Raising a child requires a tremendous amount of stamina. In addition to confirming your overall health, it’s essential for the health of your future child to know and understand the risk of passing on any genetic conditions or illnesses in your family history. To that end, a wellness check-up with your primary doc is wise to ensure your health is sound, but it’s not thorough enough.
You also need to schedule a consultation with a fertility doctor. They will run tests to ensure you are, in fact, fertile by performing a semen analysis and a sperm DNA test. The semen analysis consists of four basic assessments: The volume of ejaculate, the number of sperm it contains (concentration and count), the activity of the sperm (movement and motility) and the morphology, or appearance of the sperm.
The next test offered to you is a sperm DNA test. Your doctor may or may not recommend this test which measures the integrity or quality of your sperm. This test ensures your sperm are viable enough to fertilize an egg.
Of course, healthy sperm relies heavily on a healthy lifestyle. Some points you should consider:
- Medications you use regularly including steroids
- Exposure to toxins that affect reproduction
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Illicit drugs and marijuana usage
You also need to eat a diet to improve sperm health and get regular exercise.
Next Step? Decide Which Partner’s Sperm to Use
For fertilization purposes, the lab selects a healthy sperm and places it with the egg for fertilization to occur. If both partners have healthy and strong sperm the next step in the process is deciding whose sperm to use. Some men opt to have half the eggs fertilized by one partner and half by another. The lab can identify which embryo belongs to which partner, biologically.
After creation of the embryos, you may opt for Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT). This test determines the genetic health of your embryo and screens for chromosomal disorders. The gender of each embryo is also identified in the event you have a preference.
Gestational Carrier and Donor Eggs
So now you need to decide on a surrogate, or gestational carrier, and whether you use anonymous donor eggs or eggs from someone you know. Do you have a generous friend or relative who has offered her eggs and/or her uterus?
As long as she has medical clearance, you can absolutely use a friend or relative for both. However, for legal purposes you need a separate egg donor and gestational carrier. This is for your legal protection. Once the baby is born both intended parents’ names go on the birth certificate so there are no legal “grey areas.”
Using eggs from an anonymous donor is wise for many reasons. First of all, the donor has been screened and approved as healthy. She is typically young which means her eggs are viable and plentiful. Donor eggs offer a very high rate of successful outcomes.
Selecting a gestational carrier is also a much more streamlined process when using someone you don’t know. When you go through an agency, you know your surrogate was thoroughly vetted. The agency has experience in bringing together suitable gestational carriers and prospective parents, so everyone has a positive experience. You’re able to decide on geographical proximity, if that’s something you want, and select someone who shares your core values.
The IVF Process
Once you choose your gestational carrier, she’ll begin preparation for embryo implantation.
The lab mixes the sperm you provide with the donor’s eggs, creating embryos. The lab screens the embryos via PGS and transfers them to your gestational carrier’s uterus via a catheter. Pregnancy is detectable after about 12 days. Any remaining embryos are cryogenically preserved for future pregnancies.
Consult With the Experts
Once you and your partner decide you want to pursue parenthood schedule a consultation with LA IVF Clinic. We offer expert advice from one of the leading fertility physicians in the country. Contact us today to find out more about becoming the dads you were meant to be.