Create the Family That You Deserve
At the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, we take PRIDE in helping our LGBTQ patients achieve the dream of parenthood.
The staff and physicians at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center believe in the basic human right to build a family regardless of sexual preference, gender identity or relationship status. Further, our approach to LGBTQ patients comes from an assumption of fertility, rather than infertility. This distinction is important because we understand that our LGBTQ patients do not suffer from a reproductive impairment, rather most simply require some help in bringing eggs and sperm together. We have found that this attitude provides our patients with the safest, fastest, most natural and most successful path to parenthood.
The first step towards parenthood for LGBTQ patients at the Los Angles Reproductive Center is an initial consultation. In this hour long meeting with Dr. Kalan or Dr. Winkler, you (and your partner) will discuss your desires, plans and hopes for building a family. Drs. Winkler or Kalan will ask about your reproductive, medical, surgical and family histories as well as perform a physical exam (if appropriate). Based on the findings of the consultation, the physicians will recommend which laboratory tests are needed to move forward.
Ultimately, Dr. Winkler or Kalan will recommend treatment options based on their findings. It is important to know that, like all patients at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, your treatment options and plan will be specifically tailored to your history and needs.
Examples of potential treatment options include:
Intrauterine insemination (IUI) for Lesbian couples
For same sex female couples, there are many different treatment options available to build a family. The most basic approach is to inject prepared, donor sperm into the uterus, close to the time of ovulation. This is called natural cycle IUI (intrauterine insemination) and most often, utilizes anonymous, donor sperm obtained from one of our partner sperm banks. Patients may choose their donor sperm, based on any criteria that they deem important, such as the donor’s ethnic background, education status, physical characteristics, personality information and more. Once selected, sperm is shipped to our office or storage facility and then your physicians at Los Angles Reproductive Center determine (based on the menstrual cycle, ultrasound examinations and lab work) the best time to perform an insemination.
This process can also be augmented with fertility medications. The medications may improve chance for conception by stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs for ovulation.
Yet another IUI treatment variation for lesbian couples is to use a friend, colleague, or non-blood related relative as a sperm donor. Using a known sperm donor requires a few regulatory tests to screen for infectious disease and legal considerations, but at the Los Angeles Reproductive Center, we have extensive experience coordinating known sperm donation and believe that it is a wonderful way to build a family.
IVF (invitro fertilization) for same sex female couples.
For lesbian couples IVF (in vitro fertilization) involves approximately 9-11 days of medication to stimulate growth of multiple eggs from one or both partners. Once adequately mature, the eggs are removed from the ovaries through a simple procedure performed under anesthesia and fertilized in the laboratory with known or anonymous donor sperm. Fertilized eggs (embryos) then grow in the laboratory for the next 5 days and then can be returned to either partner’s uterus for pregnancy.
Additionally, many patients choose to have their 5 day old embryos tested to determine which are genetically normal, before transferring them into the uterus. This testing is called PGS and stands for preimplantation genetic screening. PGS is also the method that allows couples to identify gender.
Further, for medical or personal reasons, some couples elect to use an egg donor to provide eggs for IVF and/ or a gestational surrogate to carry their child. The physicians and staff at Los Angles Reproductive Center are very familiar with both the egg donation process and gestational surrogacy and are happy to help their patients become parents through this very successful form of fertility treatment. We can guide you through every step of selecting the right egg donor for your needs.
Fertility treatments for same sex male couples
For gay male couples, the path to parenthood usually includes using a healthy young egg donor to provide eggs and another healthy woman to act as a gestational surrogate. The donor can be anonymous (arranged through one of our partner agencies) or someone the couple knows through personal, professional or familial means. Donors are required to pass certain medical, psychological and infectious evaluations and then enter into a contract with the intended parents to provide eggs.
A gestational carrier is either identified from one of our partner agencies or can be a friend, colleague or relative of the couple. Similar to an egg donor, a surrogate is screened for medical, infectious and psychological health, before signing a contract to provide surrogacy services to the couple.
Subsequently, Drs. Winkler or Kalan will devise a plan to stimulate the eggs to grow in the donor’s ovaries and, when ready, perform an egg retrieval procedure under anesthesia. Once the eggs are obtained, sperm from one or both male partners are used to fertilize the eggs in the IVF laboratory. The fertilized eggs (embryos) then grow for the next 5 days in the laboratory.
At this point, one of several options are available.
The embryos can be frozen for future use
The embryos can be tested to determine which are genetically normal through PGS. (this may be combined with freezing).
The embryos can be transferred immediately to a gestational surrogate (this too can be combined with PGS)
The timing and advantages of each option will depend on each couple’s unique situation, but Drs. Kalan and Winkler will provide the guidance needed to choose the appropriate path.
If you have questions about fertility services for the LGBTQ community, please reach out to one of our experienced physicians. We are happy to help you start or continue to build your family.
Drs. Nurit Winkler and Marc Kalan of Los Angeles Reproductive Center are a unique fertility clinic focused on treating patients like family and built upon the principles of communication, compassion, warmth, openness, and service that accompanies an exceptional pregnancy rate. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.