While donor or lesbian insemination is easy and highly successful, it leaves one of the partners with less than full biological connection to the child. The combination of sperm donation and egg donation was pioneered by Dr. Navot, the founding partner at the Institute. In this arrangement, the ultimate two-mother family is created. One of the partners donates her eggs, thus becoming the egg donor providing the genetic backbone for the child, while the other partner will be the recipient into whose womb the embryos are transferred. The new family enjoys the joys, social privileges and legal recognition of complete dual motherhood.
One can go a step further and use a designated or directed sperm donor, when available. Using a male sibling or other relative as the sperm donor assures even more complete genetic lineage in the new family. The directed donor sperm can be used for artificial insemination and intrauterine insemination (IUI) or as part of an in vitro fertilization cycle or IVF cycle with egg donation. Of course, the sibling sperm donor must be genetically unrelated to the partner donating the egg. While new FDA regulations require strict testing and six month quarantine of sperm donated by a non-intimate partner, this only slightly delays the time for pregnancy.
Methods for Biological Parenting in Same-Sex Female Couples:
I. Artificial Donor Insemination
Donor insemination is a simple painless procedure, which requires the selection and purchase of the desired sperm from a licensed sperm bank (for example, www.cryobank.com). The donor sperm can be stored at the Institute and thawed at the ideal time as determined by your fertility specialist. Donor insemination, or the more technologically advanced intrauterine insemination "IUI" can be performed either during a natural menstrual cycle or a cycle in which ovulation is enhanced by the oral medication Clomid. Using Clomid ensures significantly higher pregnancy success and shorter duration of treatment. The IUI is painless and can be performed, under our guidance, by the female partner on site at the Institute. There is often confusion between IUI and IVF, a confusion based on the false impression that all fertility procedures are complicated and expensive. An insemination is a painless procedure, which requires no cuts, no anesthesia and carries virtually no complications. It is also comforting to know that insemination costs only a couple of hundred dollars as opposed to the thousands required for IVF.
II. Directed Donor Insemination
Licensed sperm banks boast an extensive list of screened sperm donors (www.cryobank.com). You may choose from the list according to ethnic background, body build, eye color, hair color and skin tone as well as education, profession and hobbies of your sperm donor. Sperm banks also test their donors for all FDA mandated infectious diseases, basic genetic testing and also screen their donors for high-risk behavior. The sperm bank's quality assurance requires high quality sperm, which will withstand freezing and is likely to be fertile. However if you prefer a close relative in order to preserve genetic lineage, you will be using a 'directed sperm donor'. A directed sperm donor could be a sibling or other blood relative of the partner not wishing to conceive. A directed sperm donor will require a full panel of infectious disease screening and a six month quarantine of frozen sperm. Directed sperm donation will no doubt cost less, will be genetically familiar and reduce the anxiety related to the outcome of the pregnancy. However, unselected sperm may not withstand freezing well, and a known, directed sperm donor may create unforeseen social complications in the future. Whatever your dream family's composition may be, we at the Fertility Institute are ready to help you achieve your dreams with professionalism, discretion and compassion.
III. Lesbian Egg Donation
- Egg donation with anonymous sperm donation (www.cryobank.com)
- Egg donation with directed sperm donation
In this scenario the partner donating her eggs goes through an in vitro fertilization cycle.This entails daily medication for roughly eight days. The medication is necessary to grow and mature multiple eggs (follicles) to maximize the chance of success. When the eggs are mature, they are collected under sedation and subsequently fertilized with donor sperm. While egg maturation and growth take place in the partner donating the eggs, the partner intending to carry the baby (the egg recipient) is taking oral medications to prepare her uterus for embryo implantation. Typically two embryos are transferred into the uterus of the partner designated to conceive.Embryo transfer is a carefully controlled, painless procedure and does not require any sedation. Alternately a 'directed sperm donor' may be used to fertilize the donated eggs. The directed sperm donor can not be a blood relative of the egg donor, only the egg recipient.
IV. Embryo Donation
Embryo donation is the transfer of previously frozen, viable embryos, which were donated by a couple who has completed their family. This option may be an easy and inexpensive way to fulfill the dream of having a baby for single women as well as for couples who have depleted egg reserve.