Same-Sex Parenting

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Committed To Breaking Barriers, Creating Families

Egg donation, surrogacy, gestational carrier, embryo donation – all have become accepted means to treating special fertility challenges. Yet many couples hesitate to pursue third-party parenting because it is a newer, more complicated process. Our commitment:

  • RSC pledges its support throughout the process, from providing referrals for the best agencies for donors, surrogates, and gestational carriers, legal and psychological support, and coordinating the finest care for all involved.
  • RSC doctors realize the physiological and psychological concerns of all prospective parents are pretty much the same. RSC considers procreation a natural human desire and parenting a fulfilling spiritual experience.
  • The June 2008 California Supreme Court decision to allow gay couples to marry only strengthened RSC’s commitment to provide the finest fertility care available to gay and lesbian families from California and abroad.
  • RSC agrees with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine ethics committee’s statement that it is their “ethical duty to treat single persons and gay and lesbian couples equally with married couples… we find no sound ethical basis for licensed professionals to deny reproductive services to unmarried or homosexual persons.”

Gay & Lesbian Family Building

The physicians and staff of RSC realize that gay and lesbian couples often endure social challenges. Some same-sex couples wanting their own families often encounter confusion and misunderstanding from others, sometimes even from medical professionals. RSC strives to provide a refuge from judgment and is dedicated to facilitating greater ease and comfort in your family journey.

RSC’s fertility care for same-sex couples includes extensive medical and emotional support. Several options for same-sex couples utilizing a third party to achieve pregnancy include:

Sperm donation

For lesbian couples or heterosexual couples with male-factor infertility, a sperm donor can be selected through a sperm bank or known donor. We help select the best sources and can help arrange for shipment and storage until treatment.

Because of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS, the American Fertility Society established a series of guidelines for donor sperm in 1993. Sperm from carefully screened donors has already been quarantined for six months until the donor can undergo repeat testing and is found to be free of a communicable disease.

Donor screening

If you are using a known donor, routine screening includes:

  • Semen analysis
  • Blood analysis for infectious diseases such as AIDS
  • Urine analysis for gonorrhea and Chlamydia
  • Psychological counseling for a known donor is recommended but not required
  • Psychological counseling for recipient parents is recommended but not required
  • Screening for cytomegalovirus (CMV) for a female surrogate

Gestational surrogacy and egg donation

Gestational surrogacy and egg donation can also be performed in couples where both partners are female. In this situation, one female partner may wish to use embryos created from her eggs and donor sperm and then have the embryos transferred to her partner to carry the pregnancy to term. IVF must be used in this scenario. The birth mother is not the genetic mother, but both partners have contributed to the ultimate outcome of a healthy baby.

This may be done for several reasons:

  • One partner may have eggs that are “too old” to conceive naturally, but still wishes to carry a pregnancy and experience childbirth.
  • One partner’s uterus may not be healthy enough to carry a pregnancy but the eggs are still quite promising for creation of a child, which her partner could then deliver.
  • It creates a joint venture for the couple in the delivery of a child.

Typically, the birth mother is the legal mother of the child unless legal documents have been obtained either before the delivery or after the delivery through an adoption process.

Additionally, some same sex couples have used IVF to conceive and now have extra embryos in cryostorage. One partner may then wish to use these frozen embryos deliver a child. In this case, the children born would be exact genetic siblings (even fraternal twins) but carried in pregnancy by different birth mothers. Routine testing of the birth mother as well as an evaluation of the uterus to ensure an optimal implantation site would be undertaken prior to beginning the frozen cycle transfer.

RSC has helped many couples successfully become parents through this unique approach. We would be happy to advise you on how to do this given your individual circumstances, as well as advice you as to which approach may give you the greatest chance for the healthy birth of a baby.

Legal considerations

RSC strongly recommends that you understand and protect your legal rights during the third-party services process and consult with a lawyer who specializes in surrogacy issues. Learn more about legal considerations

Emotional support & counseling

Part of the broad base of support for our patients involved in third-party fertility treatment includes psychological evaluation. RSC requires that patients, donors—if known, surrogates or gestational carriers all participate in some psychological counseling, in addition to extensive medical screening. Learn more