Egg donation can help gay couples have a baby with biological ties to one of the fathers
Supporting the LGBT community is important to the team at Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine. As part of this priority, Robert E. Anderson, MD, often recommends egg donation to gay couples who visit his Southern California fertility center for help starting or growing their families.
The process of egg donation starts with selecting an egg donor
When a couple comes to our Southern California fertility center for help with family building, they often tell us that they want their baby to be biologically related to one of them. Egg donation makes this possible.
The first step of egg donation is finding an egg donor. Dr. Anderson explains the options.
- Gay couples can work with our donor egg program and use an anonymous egg donor. Egg donor programs screen all potential egg donors to make sure that each donor is physically and mentally healthy and willing to follow through on their commitment to donate. Although this form of egg donation is anonymous, couples can access information about each donor’s appearance, education, health and interests.
- Another option for gay couples is asking a family member or friend to serve as their egg donor. Many couples like this option because they already know the mother of their future child. However, with this option, the couple is responsible for interviewing and screening the egg donor. We are also required to follow industry regulations regarding screening.
- Frozen eggs provide another flexible option for third-party reproduction.
If a couple selects an egg donor for a fresh cycle, the next steps are ovarian stimulation, egg
retrieval, fertilization and PGS testing of the embryos. A normal embryo is then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate. These steps are performed at our Southern California fertility center.
It’s important to remember that couples will also have to select a surrogate. Gestational surrogates do not share a biological connection with the baby. You can find more information about surrogacy here.
- Dr Anderson will prescribe fertility medications to the egg donor in order to stimulate egg production in her ovaries. He will then carefully monitor the egg donor and he will retrieve the eggs when they are mature.
- Once Dr Anderson retrieves the eggs, an embryologist will fertilize them in a laboratory using the father’s sperm. This is a process known as in vitro fertilization, IVF.
- The embryos will then be tested with PGS to determine which ones are normal. One embryo will then be transferred into the uterus of the surrogate. When she becomes pregnant, the pregnancy should proceed as any other.
Before choosing egg donation, couples should consider the related financial and legal issues
- Financial issues are an important consideration because couples must usually bear all of the costs associated with egg donation. Most insurance do not cover egg donation, so couples are often responsible for all medical costs for their egg donor.
- Legal issues cannot be overlooked. The best way to avoid legal issues is to have an attorney draft an egg donor contract. The contract should explicitly state that all children born from the donated eggs will belong to the couple, and not to the egg donor.
While there are financial and legal issues involved with egg donation, many gay couples decide to start or grow their families using this method. Why? Egg donation is the best way for gay couples to have a child who is biologically related to one of them.
To learn more about egg donation, please contact the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine today.