Fertility options for same sex couples generally involve one or more of the following processes:
For female couples, treatment is centred around using donor sperm; while for male couples an egg donor and a surrogate is required. Variations and additional treatments may be utilised where needed, and these procedures may be adjusted to allow both partners to feel more connected to the process, or even share genetic material with the child.
As a female same sex-couple you have the following treatment options (all these procedures are to be conducted at Wijnland Fertility):
Donor eggs and embryos in lesbian fertility treatment
For older women, or women who are concerned about passing on a hereditary disease to their child, donor eggs or embryos can be used to achieve a safer pregnancy. The donor may be a woman close to the couple, or entirely anonymous.
Options for lesbian couples to get pregnant
IUI or AI: Intrauterine Insemination or Artificial Insemination, using donor sperm from an anonymous (protected by South African Law) or known donor (Private legal agreements are required). This is the simplest method, and can usually be performed without the need for any fertility medications, as the insemination is timed to coincide with the mom-to-be’s ovulation. Just as with getting pregnant naturally, it may take a few attempts before conception takes place.
IVF: In vitro fertilisation – donor sperm and eggs from one of the female partners are combined outside of the body in the lab, and the resulting embryo is transferred back to the uterus. This is generally the fastest way for lesbian couples to conceive, but is more complex and involves the need for medication to stimulate the ovaries.
Reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples / Co-maternity: The IVF procedure is performed as above, but with one woman in the couple donating her eggs for the other to carry. While the woman carrying the baby will not be biologically related to the child, she will get to experience the pregnancy and give birth to the baby.
Whichever route you choose, Wijnland’s compassionate LGBT fertility experts will be right there to offer counseling and expert advice!
As a male same-sex couple you have the following treatment options:
Surrogacy options for male same-sex couples in South Africa:
Gay male couples wanting to have a baby can only make use of gestational surrogacy in South Africa.
Gestational surrogacy / in vitro for gay couples:
In this case, the surrogate has no genetic link to the baby, as the egg is supplied by a separate egg donor. The egg from this donor is fertilised with sperm from one of the male partners, and then transferred to the uterus of the surrogate.
While this process may perhaps sound unnecessarily complicated, there’s a good reason it’s become the preferred method for many gay couples. When the surrogate mother is also the biological mother of the resulting child, this can in instances cause legal issues.
South African law (2001), specifically the Children’s Act (2005), requires a legally binding contract to be drawn up between the parties. This agreement needs to be confirmed by the court before insemination takes place.
As with every aspect of your journey to parenthood, Wijnland’s fertility clinic for LGBT couples are standing by to assist you!
Once you’ve explored all the pregnancy options for gay couples and are ready to proceed, these are the steps we take:
Remember that all our LGBT fertility specialists are also skilled in providing counselling and psychological support during this emotional time. We’ll ensure you understand exactly what is happening, what the risks might be, and what alternatives are available.