Reproductive Medicine in the Gay & Lesbian Community
One of the wonderful aspects of reproductive medicine is that it creates family building opportunities to a wide patient population—extending beyond just those with an infertility diagnosis. The gay and lesbian community is a primary beneficiary of reproductive technologies such as intrauterine insemination (artificial insemination), in-vitro-fertilization, and egg donation. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the services that my clinic provides to the gay and lesbian community.
For lesbian intended parents, procedures such as intrauterine insemination (known as “artificial insemination”) require the use of donor sperm and insemination via a catheter. In-vitro fertilization (or “IVF”)—the process by which a woman’s eggs are extracted from the ovaries and fertilized in a petri dish—is also a commonplace treatment for lesbian and gay intended parents. For lesbians, IVF may be used in cases of infertility, where one female partner provides the egg, which is fertilized with donor sperm, and then transferred to the womb of the other female partner. For gay men, IVF is performed in instances where a donor provides eggs, the eggs are fertilized with sperm in a petri dish, and then transferred to the womb of a gestational carrier.
As background, the demand for assisted reproductive technology (ART) is underscored by the fact that a substantial percentage of gay and lesbian couples and individuals are becoming parents. In fact, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, 34 percent of lesbian couples and 22 percent of gay male couples have at least one child under 18 years of age living in their home. Lesbian couples parent at about 75 percent the rate of married heterosexual couples and gay male couples parent at about half the rate of married heterosexual couples. (Source: http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/censr-5.pdf.)