Today there are more options than ever to consider when deciding how to start a family as a LGBTQ+ couple or individual. Science has come a long way, and our community has greatly benefited from all of the advancements made in reproductive medicine. And while different LGBTQ+ couples will utilize various different methods to conceive, by far the two most popular methods of conception for lesbian couples are Intrauterine Insemination and Invitro fertilization. Before we dive into which option is right for you let’s take a moment to define exactly what each of these procedures are and the differences between them.
Intrauterine insemination (or IUI) is a fertility method that places sperm directly in the uterus with a long, thin catheter. While some women may take medication to stimulate follicles growth and a trigger shot to help stimulate egg release, IUI can also be done without any medication. Your doctor may use an ultrasound machine to help guide catheter placement, but other than that, this procedure requires very little medical intervention. The procedure itself is relatively quick and painless- sort of like getting a Pap smear. Out of all the fertility methods, IUI is the least invasive and the least expensive.
Invitro fertilization (or IVF) on the other hand, is a little more involved. The process begins with a women taking medication to increase egg production. Once the eggs have matured, they are then removed with a tiny needle while the women is under general anesthesia. The eggs are then fertilized with donor sperm in a lab and grown to embryos. Healthy embryos can then be transferred back into a women’s uterus or frozen to save for a transfer at a later date. If the embryo is transferred back into a women’s uterus, she will then take additional medication to help the embryo “stick” and hopefully result in a pregnancy.
Where Are These Procedures Done?
Both IVF and IUI are done in a clinical setting, but not all fertility clinics have the resources to do everything under one roof. Sometimes having to bounce around between clinics and move sperm and eggs from one place to another can be complicated (and expensive!) so finding a fertility clinic from the get go that does it all is key! CCRM is a leading fertility clinic in the industry that offers full suite fertility services and innovative technology all under one roof. Click here to see a list of their 11 locations throughout the country.
Which Fertility Treatment is Right for You?
Deciding which fertility treatment is right for you depends on a handful of factors. Age, medical history and finances can all play a role in determining which route you end up trying. Ultimately, everyone’s fertility journey will be unique. Working with a fertility clinic and discussing options with your doctor, will help you decide which option will be best. However, until you are able to have those discussions with your doctor, here is a quick list which can help give you an idea which road you may be headed down.
IUI Might Be Right For You If…
- You have no history of reproductive health issues
- You are under 40 years of age
- You have 3 or more vials of sperm
- You want to try the least invasive method first
- You want to go the least expensive route
IVF May Be Right For You If…
- You have had failed IUI cycles
- You are over 40
- You have endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes
- You have a limited amount of sperm
- You want the highest chances of success
- You have financial flexibility
CCRM prides themselves on individualizing treatment plans based on your specific circumstances. They can help you decide which route would be best for your unique circumstance and can also help with financial planning.
Is There Anything Special I Have To Know About Undergoing Fertility Treatments As An LGBTQ Couple?
The majority of clinics around the country require all individuals and couples who require a third party for reproduction, regardless of sexual orientation, must meet with a licensed clinical psychologist. To be clear this isn’t an test where you are evaluated as prospective parents, like I thought when Micaela and I started our journey, it’s more of a chance for members of the mental health team to discuss issues that may come up when using a third party and how to best support you.
CCRM believes that everyone has the right to create the family of their dreams, including the LGBTQ+ community. Gay, lesbian and transgendered individuals face unique barriers when creating a family. CCRM recognizes our unique needs and offers many different services for each families requirements. They have even partnered with the Family Equality Council to ensure inclusive fertility support is at the highest standard.
What Can I Expect To Pay For IUI vs IVF?
This is a question I get A LOT and unfortunately there is no way to determine exactly what you can expect to pay because there is no way of knowing what YOUR fertility journey will entail. There are so many different factors that can dictate the cost of your treatments including medication, number of transfers, and required imaging. All that being said, I wrote a blog which you can find here that gives you a general idea as to what you can expect to pay for IUI. And you can find out here what IVF has cost other couples in the past.
Deciding to make a family as an LGBTQ+ couple has been the most exciting and most rewarding journey Micaela and I have ever done. That isn’t to say it was without many ups and downs along the way. Finding a fertility clinic that can support all aspects of care required during your fertility journey is so key! CCRM offers a host of resources including mind-body practices that you may find helpful along your own journey.
As always, if you have any additional questions please leave them below or reach out to me on Instagram. Helping other LGBTQ+ couples achieve their family dreams has become a passion of mine and I would be honored to help in any way that I can!
If you would like to learn more about CCRM, the services they offer and/ or request a consultation to start your own fertility you can find them HERE.
Or you can book an appointment directly by clicking HERE.