FERTILITY TREATMENTS FOR SAME SEX/LGBT COUPLES
Being an individual within a same-sex/LGBT relationship has its fair share of challenges. At Wijnland Fertility, we believe that all individuals or couples have the right to start a family, which is why we’ll be with you every step of the way on your journey to parenthood!

As an LGBT friendly fertility clinic, we have an extensive donor bank for ova, sperm or embryos (or a combination thereof) as well as a growing community of surrogates. We also take the emotional and mental well-being of our clients extremely seriously, providing expert counselling and psychological support to every parent-to-be.

Below we take a look at the available same sex couple pregnancy options, and what you need to know going forward.
FAST FACTS ABOUT FERTILITY OPTIONS FOR GAY AND LESBIAN COUPLES

Firstly, the good news! Because LGBTQ couples wanting children of their own don’t struggle with medical infertility as such, the chances of achieving a successful pregnancy are normally quite high. This means a treatment such as IVF for same sex couples is generally not needed, unless the couple makes use of a donor embryo.

With that said, however, one can still have an underlying indication for infertility treatment that would have gone by without notice due to the nature of the same sex relationship. In these cases, our vast experience assisting heterosexual couples with fertility challenges means we’re perfectly positioned to assist should a medical issue be discovered.

Many of the IUI options available to lesbian couples can also be utilised by single women looking to become mothers without a partner.

Male couples

Wijnland Fertility can assist gay couples with finding an egg donor (or embryo donor) and a surrogate to carry the child during pregnancy.

Female couples

Wijnland Fertility can assist lesbian couples with finding donor sperm to be used for an IUI or IVF cycle (depending on which one is required/applicable).

HOW OUR SAME-SEX FERTILITY OPTIONS WORK

Before any course of action is decided on, we conduct a comprehensive fertility assessment and get to know you as a couple. We understand that trying to get pregnant as gay or lesbian partners can be a daunting process, which is why all our staff are trained to be supportive and approachable. We’re here to make sure you get the answers you’re looking for!

In the case of female patients, we will look at medical history and ovulation cycles, and may conduct blood tests to check hormone levels and ovarian reserve. Even if you have already decided who you would like to be the ‘mom’, performing these tests might uncover medical complications you weren’t aware of, in which case it may be safer for the other partner to carry the child.

For our male patients, we will conduct a semen analysis, especially if you are a slightly older couple or have had medical complications which may affect the viability of your sperm. We will also discuss the surrogacy process in detail, whether you already know a woman who is willing to help carry the baby, or whether you need to find a suitable surrogate.

These fertility and psychological assessments play an important role in helping us fi nd the optimal treatment route for each individual couple, along with applying for a donor and/or surrogacy when required.

FERTILITY OPTIONS FOR LGBT+ COUPLES

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.

  • For example, a lesbian couple may choose to have one partner donate her eggs, while the other carries the pregnancy. This is sometimes referred to as co-maternity.
  • A male couple may choose to have half a donor’s eggs fertilised with one partner’s sperm, and half with the other partner’s.
  • We can also assist transgender individuals with finding the option that best suits their unique situation.
Lesbian couple pregnancy options

As a female same sex-couple you have the following treatment options (all these procedures are to be conducted at Wijnland Fertility):

  • You can use donor sperm only: Partner 1 can use her eggs and partner 2 can carry the baby, and vice versa. Partner 1 can carry the baby and use her own eggs, and vice versa
  • You can make use of donor embryos Either partner 1 or partner 2 can carry the baby
  • You can make use of any of the above, with a surrogate, if medically indicated

 

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!

Gay couple pregnancy options

As a male same-sex couple you have the following treatment options:

  • The use of donor ova and a surrogate This is the most commonly used option for gay couples, and both partner’s sperm can be used in the process. Provided there are a good number of eggs available, an option could be to use both partners’ sperm for fertilization. The way this option works is that partner 1 will fertilize one half of the eggs and partner 2 will fertilize the other half. The idea behind this option is that both partners should have a viable blastocyst (the developing embryo) for transfer or freezing. Partner 1 can use his sperm for the procedure only, and vice versa for partner 2
  • Donor sperm can be used along with donor eggs and a surrogate (this option is only possible after legal approval is granted)
  • Donor embryos can be used with a surrogate

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!

WHEN TO CONSIDER FERTILITY TREATMENT AS AN LGBT COUPLE
THE PREGNANCY PROCESS AT WIJNLAND

Once you’ve explored all the pregnancy options for gay couples and are ready to proceed, these are the steps we take:

  1. Consultation with our in-house fertility counsellor to assist with making an informed decision
  2. Consultation with one of our fertility specialists
  3. Recommended tests and procedures
  4. Decision regarding treatment
  5. Search begins for donor/surrogate
  6. Donor/surrogate chosen
  7. Legalities and all paperwork checked
  8. Treatment cycle begins!

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.

What makes the Wijnland
LGBT fertility clinic special
Our success rates
Wijnland Fertility has impressively high success rates for both samesex/LGBT and heterosexual couples. We’re never satisfi ed with average, and are always looking at new ways to improve our service to would-be parents.
State of the art equipment
All Wijnland Fertility facilities, procedures and equipment are of the very highest standard. Our groundbreaking EmbryoScope incubator, for example, has allowed us to achieve a 62% IVF success rate against the global 45% average.
Friendly and supportive staff
Wijnland’s caring and committed staff are always there to assist and offer expert guidance. Our LGBT fertility clinic adheres to a biopsychosocial model of treatment - aimed at meeting all our patient’s medical, psychological and social needs.
LET OUR FAMILY HELP YOU START YOURS
At Wijnland, we also ensure constant follow ups with our donor conception children. Most importantly of all, we’re passionate about helping our clients create the family they’ve always dreamt of - and we’d love to welcome you into ours!

Please contact us today if you have any questions or would like to book your consultation!