For same sex couples there’s a wide choice of paths to creating families and the latest fertility science makes it possible to blend biological and donor parenthood with a high level of success.
Life Fertility is keen to help with simple and complex situations – whatever it takes to create the family that’s right for you.
Whether you’re just about to start out on the journey and want a consultation to explore your options and legal situation or you are already pretty clear of the pathway that’s right for you, come and talk to us.
These are some of the options that help make same-sex parenthood possible
For women in a same sex relationship, we can work with your chosen male donor or you can access our sperm donation program. Depending on your fertility circumstances and in some cases the characteristics of sperm sample you plan to use, we will develop the best treatment plan to maximise your chance of creating a family. We offer the option to store sperm for future treatment cycles to create siblings from the same donor.
Same sex female couples, may elect to use one partner’s eggs (and donor sperm) and for the other to carry the pregnancy. Talk to us if you would like to explore egg donation in this way as the route to creating a family. Inevitably the process of creating a family is a little more complex for same sex male couples as an egg donor and a woman to carry the pregnancy (a surrogate) are required. If you have someone in mind as an egg donor talk to us about how we may be able to facilitate the first part of the process (creation of embryos) using your sperm. Although we do require your egg donor to be a different woman to your surrogate we can also help with the surrogacy part of the process as well.
It can be quite a challenge to find surrogate mothers in Australia unless you have a close friend or relation who is willing to undertake this role for you. However, do talk to us about the possibilities before considering overseas surrogacy where there are often poor conditions for surrogate mothers, changing laws, immigration issues and other uncertainties. We have lots of experience in coordinating Australian surrogacy arrangements. Do remember though that, it is illegal to undertake surrogacy for payment in all states of Australia.
Women in same-sex relationships may also need help with fertility issues or to go through IVF – rest assured you will be very welcome at Life Fertility.
Similarly men in same sex relationships can take advantage of our fertility tests and treatments if necessary.
Achieving a successful pregnancy has many of the same challenges whether you are in a heterosexual or same-sex relationship.
You may need minimal help from us if you have healthy eggs yourself and a suitable sperm donor and simply want us to undertake intra-uterine insemination but, if your situation is more complex, we have the experience and services to help.
Some of the services you may need
Fertility testing and diagnosis
When you’re relying on donor sperm, whether from a friend or sperm bank, you want to be sure you have the best chance of success. We will undertake a range of blood tests and if needed a laparoscopic investigation to ensure you have a good chance of becoming pregnant.
Choosing and testing your sperm donor
If you are unsure whether to look for a friend to donate sperm or to access anonymous sperm from our sperm bank, we can talk you through the pros and cons of each. We can also test the sperm of your nominated friend to ensure he has sufficient effective sperm to give you a good chance of pregnancy.
There is an advantage to this procedure over natural intercourse as it allows us to extract and concentrate the sperm from the semen in the laboratory and then place them directly into the uterus using a small catheter. It can be used in conjunction with ovulation induction to give you the best chance of successful conception.
This is a simple matter of taking medication or having injections that help induce regular ovulation. The medication is normally taken at the beginning of the menstrual cycle and your response is monitored through the cycle using ultrasound. Your Fertility Specialist can then determine when you are due to ovulate and therefore the best time for insemination.
Depending on your fertility circumstances your specialist may recommend in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as your best chance of achieving a successful pregnancy with donor sperm. One of you will undergo an IVF cycle, the eggs will be inseminated with the donor sperm in the laboratory and the resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus and / or frozen. It is possible that in a same sex couple one woman may want to provide the eggs while the other will carry the pregnancy. This is technically egg donation and can be achieved by synchronising your cycles. Please see our IVF section for further details.
If there are surplus good quality embryos created in your IVF cycle, they can be frozen for future use. This minimises the need for further full IVF cycles should you need to have more treatment or want to add siblings to your family. Read more in our factsheet.
If you are two men starting a family you naturally have a bigger challenge than women for the obvious reason that neither of you has eggs nor can you carry the pregnancy – and finding someone to do either of these for you can be quite a big ask. But sometimes there are relations or close friends who are willing to help you.
Usually in these circumstances, regular sexual intercourse with the surrogate mother to conceive a natural pregnancy is not a preferred option as there can be extensive and unforeseen legal and emotional complications. We can though give you help with non-contact fertilisation methods that have the best chances of resulting in a successful pregnancy.
At Life Fertility Clinic, we recommend that the egg donor and surrogate are different women to help ensure that the creation of your family is as straightforward as possible.
Options and services you may consider include
Pre-pregnancy screening, including blood tests and sperm analysis, will highlight any issues for the partner whose sperm will be used, the egg donor or the surrogate mother.
In most cases your egg donor will be known to you and they will need to undergo a cycle of IVF for us to retrieve their eggs. We can arrange all of the appropriate preliminary assessment, screening, counselling, consent and the care and management of the donor to maximise the chances of success.
Your donor’s eggs will be retrieved through an IVF cycle. The eggs will be inseminated with the sperm of whichever partner is to be the biological father and the resulting embryos transferred to the uterus of your surrogate and/or frozen for future use.
Please see our IVF section for further details.
Cryopreservation / Freezing
If there are surplus good quality embryos created in your IVF cycle, they can be frozen for future use. This minimises the need for further IVF cycles for your donor should you need to have more treatment or want to add siblings to your family. Sometimes all of the embryos created in the IVF cycle may be frozen to facilitate co-ordination with your surrogate.
You will need a surrogate mother to nurture your pregnancy and we can work with your chosen person to maximise her fertility and chances of getting pregnant. We can co-ordinate all of the appropriate preliminary assessment, screening, counselling, care and management. If you do not have a suitable surrogate, we can advise on your options.
If neither you nor your partner can provide sperm for the pregnancy, or prefer the situation where neither of you is the biological father, you can access a suitable donor from our sperm bank.
Embarking on parenthood is a time of different emotions and relationship adjustments for all prospective parents.
For same-sex couples, the challenges are even greater and the legal implications more complex.
Our support services will help you stay sane and positive through one of your life’s most significant decisions and the months that follow it.
Our extras support services include:
Advice on your options
There are many options for same-sex parents and some considerations unique to same-sex parenthood. Whether you have already decided on how you want to approach it or would like advice on your options, come and talk it through with us to understand what’s possible and what will be involved.
Same sex parenthood has legal implications for the rights of both partners, for surrogate mothers and for sperm or egg donors. We can give you an overview of your rights and what you need to consider.
We offer free counselling session with one of our counsellors for each cycle of IVF. You can even take advantage of this up to four months after your treatment if you find things catching up on you. Additional sessions can be arranged whenever you need them. We encourage you to make the most of this to test your expectations and discuss any concerns.
Nursing support team
Our Life Fertility Clinic Nurse Coordinators are available to discuss any issues experienced as a result of treatment. They are available by appointment or by phoning the clinic. Whether it’s a quick chat to check what you’re feeling is normal or a shoulder to cry on after a setback, it’s good to know there’s someone who understands your situation and has the time to talk things through with you.
Health and wellness program
Healthy nutrition, moderate exercise and relaxation techniques all help keep you on track for the demands of prospective parenthood. Life Fertility offers a range of complementary classes and sessions to make sure you are your best self for coping with the challenges. Learn more about this program.