The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Our LGBT Family Planning Services

At the Center for Fertility & Gynecology, we believe that everyone who wants to have a family should have the opportunity to start one, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, marital status, or partner status. As such, we offer a range of LGBT fertility services at our Los Angeles, CA, practice, including egg donation, sperm donation, and gestational surrogates.

Dr. Michael Vermesh, Dr. Tannaz Toloubeydokhti, and our entire team are proud to be part of your journey to parenthood. We have been providing fertility care to LGBT families since 1987 and we can design a treatment plan suited to your preferences and budget. 

Family Planning for Same-Sex Couples

We are dedicated to helping same-sex couples achieve their goal of parenthood.

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Lesbian Fertility Options

Typically, family planning for female same-sex couples involves intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in-vitro fertilization (IVF), as well as a sperm donor. Some of the questions lesbian couples must consider include:

  • Who will carry the baby?
  • Whose eggs will be used?
  • Who will provide the sperm?

How you answer these questions is incredibly personal. You can sit down with Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti and discuss the different possibilities. Lesbian couples can use known or anonymous donor sperm. Depending on your needs, we can perform IUI with natural ovulation or improve your odds by using medication so more than one egg is released during ovulation. 

At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we are dedicated to helping our patients achieve their dreams of a family. 

With reciprocal IVF, you also have the option of deciding to place the embryos, derived from one partner's eggs, into the uterus of the other partner. In this way, both partners are connected biologically to the child.

For many couples, these decisions require a great deal of discussion and support. Our range of treatments allow you to customize your path to parenthood. Our team is with you every step of the way to help you choose the route to parenthood most suited to your family. 

A lesbian couple: a woman with her arm around her pregnant partner
Reciprocal IVF gives both partners the opportunity to be involved in the conception of their child. 

How Reciprocal IVF Works

In this type of in vitro fertilization (IVF), one partner acts as egg donor, while the other fills the role of a gestational surrogate. Our doctors can harvest eggs from one partner, fertilize them using donor sperm, and then place the embryos into the other partner’s uterus. The benefit of this option is that it creates a powerful biological link between the child and both parents. Egg freezing might also be recommended depending on your situation. 

Important Factors to Consider 

There are several factors you should consider when deciding which partner will take which role during reciprocal IVF, including:

  • Age: If there is a significant difference between your ages, your chances of successful conception may be higher with the younger partner’s eggs.
  • Medical history: A variety of medical and gynecological factors can influence your pregnancy. Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti can perform fertility testing to determine if anything in your medical history could affect the pregnancy.
  • Desire to experience pregnancy: Some women have stronger feelings about pregnancy and childbirth than others. You should discuss these feelings with your partner and medical team to decide whether this is the best route for both of you.
  • Future plans: Some couples plan to have multiple children through IVF. You may wish to take turns carrying the pregnancies or undergo IVF at the same time so you can share the experience of pregnancy together. 

Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti can sit down with you and discuss your preferences. It is important to keep in mind that reciprocal IVF is more expensive than normal IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI) because both partners need to take fertility medication at the same time. In addition, insurance rarely covers this treatment option. If you are concerned about the cost of the procedure, we can discuss financing options with you to help limit your out-of-pocket costs.

You may wish to take turns carrying the pregnancies or undergo IVF at the same time so you can share the experience of pregnancy together. 

What to Expect during Treatment

During reciprocal IVF, you will need to synchronize your menstrual cycle with your partner so you are both ready for treatment at the same time. You also have the option to freeze embryos and transfer these frozen embryos into your partner's uterus when she is ready to begin treatment. The reciprocal IVF process is typically broken down into three steps:

  1. Ovarian stimulation: The partner donating eggs undergoes ovarian induction to produce multiple eggs.
  2. Fertilization: The eggs are extracted and fertilized with donor sperm in our lab. Some patients might also choose to perform pre-implantation genetic diagnosis on the embryos.
  3. Embryo transfer: While waiting for fertilization to occur, the partner who will carry the pregnancy begins taking medication to prepare for transfer. Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti will then place the agreed-upon number of embryos into her uterus.

If all goes well, an embryo implants into the uterus and grows into a baby. We can freeze any additional embryos for future pregnancies if you desire. 

Olivia and Rebecca's Testimonial

In this testimonial, Olivia and Rebecca share their experience at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology. They were kept informed every step of the way, and they felt completely comfortable at our center. They are now expecting a healthy baby girl.

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Fertility Options for Gay Men

Male same-sex couples will need to use both an egg donor and a gestational surrogate to conceive. Some questions gay couples should consider include:

  • Whose sperm will be used?
  • Who will donate the eggs?
  • Who will carry the baby?

These questions have several different answers and our range of treatments allow you to customize your path to parenthood. Gay couples can use the sperm of either or both partners. Then, we can perform IVF with an egg donor and a gestational surrogate. 

In either case, we can perform routine testing for the partner or partners donating their sperm to check sperm motility, volume, and concentration. In addition, all donors are extensively screened to identify any genetic, psychological, or physical issues. 

Chris and Zuri's Story

Chris and Zuri share their story working with Dr. Vermesh. They had an incredibly positive experience and felt comfortable throughout the entire process.

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Is Surrogacy Right for Me?

Surrogacy is an option for gay men who want a biological link with their children. For lesbian couples who are unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy, we can discuss our different LGBT family planning services with you and help you select the route to parenthood most suited to you. 

Surrogacy Options

Advancements in fertility treatments have opened up a range of doors for gay couples considering surrogacy. LGBT surrogacy is most commonly achieved using an egg donor, gestational carrier, and IVF

For gay men, one or both partners can donate sperm that is combined with the donated eggs in our lab and then placed into the uterus of the gestational carrier. Lesbian women can use their own or donated eggs and donor sperm to achieve the same result.

Before you begin the process, there are a few decisions you will need to make, including:

  • Who will be genetically related to the child? 
  • Will you use a known or anonymous donor?
  • Do you want to use an agency to find a gestational carrier or work with someone you know?

These questions are highly personal. Once you make them, the surrogacy process is very similar to any other intended parent’s journey.

For many gay couples, surrogacy is a way for them to create a profound biological connection with their children.

Biological Connections

For many gay couples, surrogacy is a way for them to create a profound biological connection with their children. This concern is especially powerful for gay men when both partners wish to be genetically linked to a child. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we can help you achieve this goal in several ways. 

  • Our lab can combine the sperm of each partner with separate batches of donor eggs. This choice can result in twins, each with the same biological mother, but different fathers. 
  • A female relative of one partner could be their egg donor. The donated eggs are then fertilized with the sperm of the other partner. 

You can also choose to undergo two rounds of surrogacy with the same surrogate, using a different partner’s sperm for each pregnancy. In this way, the children share the same biological mother and each partner has a biological relationship with one child. 

Two men resting their hands on a pregnant woman's belly
Traditional or gestational surrogacy offers gay couples a way to create a genetic connection with their child. 

How to Get Started

If you are considering starting a family, your first step is to schedule an appointment at our center. During the initial consultation, you and your partner can sit down with Dr. Vermesh or Dr. Toloubeydokhti.

They can review your medical history, perform any preliminary testing, and discuss your hopes and preferences for treatment. Based on the results of your tests, you and your doctor can begin designing a treatment plan which suits your family. 

Begin Building Your Family 

For any couple wanting to conceive, the process can seem overwhelming and stressful. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, we are dedicated to helping our patients achieve their dreams of a family. If you are an LGBT couple considering family planning, contact our team online or call one of our multiple convenient locations

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