Egg donation can help gay couples have a baby with biological ties to one of the fathers
Supporting the LGBTQ community is important to the team at the Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine. As part of this priority, Robert Anderson MD and Don Royster MD often recommend egg donation to gay couples who visit our 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.
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.
What comes next?
If a couple selects an egg donor for a fresh cycle, the next steps are ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization and testing of the embryos.
- Your doctor will prescribe fertility medications to the egg donor 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 your doctor retrieves the eggs, an embryologist will fertilize them in a laboratory using the father’s sperm as part of in vitro fertilization. The embryos will then be tested with PGT to determine which ones are chromosomally normal.
The doctor will then transfer a chromosomally normal embryo to the uterus of the surrogate. It’s important to remember that couples will have to select a woman to be their surrogate. Gestational surrogates do not share a biological connection with the baby.
Before choosing egg donation, couples should consider the financial and legal issues
Financial issues are an important consideration because couples typically must bear all the costs associated with egg donation. This is because most insurance plans do not cover egg donation. Legal issues are also important to consider. 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. The reason why is simple. 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.