The country is changing rapidly, and same sex couples are becoming more mainstream all the time, and increasingly more visible in both the general population as well as in the media. The desire for the pursuit of children for these couples has probably always been there, but with this increased acceptance the ability to follow that dream has become a lot more real for a lot of couples.
There are some obvious issues that have to be addressed when it comes to initiating treatment, but we here at Overlake Reproductive Health are more than happy to treat each couple that presents here for treatment. There will be no prejudice against anyone, and you will not be judged for your sexual orientation. In fact we have treated many same sex couples over the years, well before the advent of marriage equality anywhere in the country let alone this state. As a sponsor of the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), which is the largest and most active LGBT business chamber in the United States, we are ready to move forward into this exciting new phase of equality and acceptance.
In the case of a lesbian couple there are numerous treatment options available, which will utilize donor sperm for insemination. We can work with all of the major donor sperm banks, and in some circumstances we can even utilize a known donor for your treatment if that is what you desire. The simplest form of treatment would be to carry out intrauterine inseminations (IUI’s), where your ovulation cycle is monitored (with or without stimulation medication) and then introduction of the sperm into your uterus to coincide with ovulation.
The main decisions that you will have to make in this case is what characteristics you wish to choose for the sperm donor, and most of the sperm banks have many different ways of helping you how to work through this decision. The other factor that needs to be determined is who is going to be the one to go through the pregnancy. With some couples it is natural for one of you to have made the decision before hand which person feels most likely to be the one that is going to carry the pregnancy. In other couples they don’t make the decision until they have undergone routine investigations to determine who would be most appropriate for the treatment. Neither case is right or wrong, but some flexibility might be required once the initial testing has been initiated.
In the case that IUI treatment is not suitable, we might go straight to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) where the eggs are fertilized outside of the body and cultured prior to transferring back into the uterus. In this case you will have to decide who will be the one to undergo the egg retrieval and embryo transfer, although in some cases couples have opted for one to have the egg retrieval so that they can both have a part in the treatment.
All of these decisions are yours to make, we can only offer advice, but we can also direct you towards counselors if you need further help in making the decision.
As far as a male couple is concerned there are a few more choices to sort out before treatment can be initiated. There is going to be the need to use an egg donor as well as a surrogate to carry the pregnancy. The egg donor portion of the treatment is a lot easier to locate as we have a large pool of anonymous egg donors at our clinic as well as working with agencies if you wish to do that instead. The surrogate can be a little more difficult to locate, but we will be able to help you in that search as well as with the necessary legal paperwork that needs to be put into place.
Then there is the sperm that needs to be taken into consideration, which is going to have to start with a semen analysis to decide if the sample is going to be OK for treatment. We have private rooms here for you to produce the sample in, although you can bring it from home if you wish. Generally speaking we cater to straight guys and so the magazines and movies that are in our collection room are geared towards them. We will be more than happy to make accommodations though – don’t be embarrassed at all!
The other fact is that we are going to have to consider you as a sperm donor as far as the treatment is concerned and so you are going to have to be screened for infectious diseases before we can initiate treatment. The reason that we will have to do this is so that we can protect the surrogate from the possibility of any infectious disease transmission. This is an FDA regulation that is always followed in the case of the use of any donated gametes.
There are also a whole range of legal issues to be taken into consideration as far as same sex parenting are concerned, and we have access to legal professionals who are well versed in the legal ramifications of this kind of treatment in whichever state you reside. That may also include working across state borders depending on where any egg donors and surrogates come from.
Surrogacy is still a little difficult to work with as different states have different guidance’s as to whether surrogates can be paid or not. For example you cannot pay a surrogate in Washington State, but you can pay for healthcare and reasonable expenses such a maternity clothing allowance. The process is a little looser in Oregon and it is totally legal to actual compensate a surrogate with cash in California.
Here is an excellent FAQ about some of the legal issues surrounding same sex marriages.