Start Your Journey: Lesbian Couple

The two of you have taken the leap and decided to add to your family. How exciting! For gay women, there are many paths to consider, so let’s get started exploring your options.


Getting Started


The first step is deciding between pregnancy and adoption. Both paths can lead to a beautiful life! Let’s find out about each.

  • Learning About Sperm Donation

    Sperm can come from a known or anonymous donor. Learn the differences below to find what might work best for your family.

    Find a Professional Planning for Payment

    KNOWN DONOR

    Sometimes, women choose to acquire a semen sample from someone they know. Typically, this option is less expensive but can carry legal, medical and emotional risks. Before you opt in, make sure to speak with professionals, such as a reproductive attorney, about the issues your family and known donor might face now and in the future.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Reproductive Options for Gay Women »
    Questions to Ask a Potential Known Donor »
    Using a Known Sperm Donor: Understanding the Legal Risks and Challenges »

    UNKNOWN DONOR

    A more common option is to find a donor through a cryobank, also called a sperm bank. Choosing a donor this way gives you much more control. In addition, cryopreserved donor sperm undergoes testing and quarantine for 180 days to screen for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, and to eliminate the possibility of transmission. The process also includes a personal medical history of the donor. Make sure your sperm bank is reputable and licensed by the local board of health. You can learn more here.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »

  • Finding the right professionals to help you

    Path2Parenthood has an extensive list of (LGBT-­friendly) service providers, including medical professionals, attorneys and cryobanks.

    Find a Professional

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Why Do You Need a Lawyer, Anyway? »
    Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »
    Finding a Cryobank »
    Finding a Medical Professional »
    Finding a Reproductive Attorney »

  • Getting Pregnant

    Once you choose a donor you will be ready to decide upon the best way for pregnancy to occur. There are many options, ranging from at-home insemination to reciprocal in vitro fertilization. Let’s learn about each.

    Find a Professional Planning for Payment

    AT-HOME INSEMINATION

    If medical issues have been ruled out, you may decide to try conceiving at home. Many women who opt in to at­-home insemination do so with the help of a midwife, which may increase the likelihood of success. If you are working with a known donor, this approach has legal as well as medical benefits.

    INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION

    Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a procedure done in a doctor’s office. It’s painless, and takes around five minutes to complete. IUIs are often done in conjunction with prescribed fertility medication.

    IN VITRO FERTILIZATION

    In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a high­-tech medical procedure which is very common. If you require IVF, you will work with a reproductive endocrinologist who will monitor your progress and hold your hand every step of the way.

    RECIPROCAL IVF

    Lesbian couples may choose to retrieve the eggs from one partner, inseminate those eggs with donor sperm and have the resulting embryo(s) placed into the other partner, who will hopefully become pregnant via this process. This is known as reciprocal IVF. Many couples opt to repeat the process in reverse at a later time.

    EGG DONOR IVF

    Sometimes, especially with women who are a bit older, egg donor IVF will yield the best chance at pregnancy. If egg donor IVF is the right choice for both of you, you will work with your clinic or an agency to identify a donor.

    SURROGACY

    If neither of you are able to carry a pregnancy, working with a surrogate is an option you may wish to consider. With surrogacy, eggs may be retrieved from one partner, fertilized with donor sperm and the resulting embryos implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. Alternatively, an egg donor’s eggs may be used.

    INFERTILITY

    Procedures such as IUI, IVF, egg donor IVF and surrogacy may be recommended if a diagnosis of infertility is uncovered in one or both partners. Infertility is very common and its causes extensive. While no one wants to hear that pregnancy will be challenging to achieve, infertility is no longer the barrier to motherhood it once was. Path2Parenthood’s comprehensive library is a great place to learn about diagnoses and treatments.

    Look through our Infertility Guide to see if this may be you.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    The Inferility Work-Up: A Guide for Lesbians »
    The Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »
    What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) »
    Accupuncture, Stress, and In Vitro Fertilization »

  • Would you need second parent adoption?

    When a baby is born to a gay couple, a second parent adoption may be required, in order to assure that both partners have the same level of legal rights and responsibilities. This may be required even if the couple is married. This easy process may begin during pregnancy or shortly after birth and will require the guidance of legal counsel.

    Find a Professional
  • Learning About Sperm Donation

    Sperm can come from a known or anonymous donor. Learn the differences below to find what might work best for your family.

    Find a Professional Planning for Payment

    KNOWN DONOR

    Sometimes, women choose to acquire a semen sample from someone they know. Typically, this option is less expensive but can carry legal, medical and emotional risks. Before you opt in, make sure to speak with professionals, such as a reproductive attorney, about the issues your family and known donor might face now and in the future.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Reproductive Options for Gay Women »
    Questions to Ask a Potential Known Donor »
    Using a Known Sperm Donor: Understanding the Legal Risks and Challenges »

    UNKNOWN DONOR

    A more common option is to find a donor through a cryobank, also called a sperm bank. Choosing a donor this way gives you much more control. In addition, cryopreserved donor sperm undergoes testing and quarantine for 180 days to screen for the presence of sexually transmitted diseases, and to eliminate the possibility of transmission. The process also includes a personal medical history of the donor. Make sure your sperm bank is reputable and licensed by the local board of health. You can learn more here.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »

  • Finding the right professionals to help you

    Path2Parenthood has an extensive list of (LGBT-­friendly) service providers, including medical professionals, attorneys and cryobanks.

    Find a Professional

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    Why Do You Need a Lawyer, Anyway? »
    Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »
    Finding a Cryobank »
    Finding a Medical Professional »
    Finding a Reproductive Attorney »

  • Getting Pregnant

    Once you choose a donor you will be ready to decide upon the best way for pregnancy to occur. There are many options, ranging from at-home insemination to reciprocal in vitro fertilization. Let’s learn about each.

    Find a Professional Planning for Payment

    AT-HOME INSEMINATION

    If medical issues have been ruled out, you may decide to try conceiving at home. Many women who opt in to at­-home insemination do so with the help of a midwife, which may increase the likelihood of success. If you are working with a known donor, this approach has legal as well as medical benefits.

    INTRAUTERINE INSEMINATION

    Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a procedure done in a doctor’s office. It’s painless, and takes around five minutes to complete. IUIs are often done in conjunction with prescribed fertility medication.

    IN VITRO FERTILIZATION

    In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a high­-tech medical procedure which is very common. If you require IVF, you will work with a reproductive endocrinologist who will monitor your progress and hold your hand every step of the way.

    RECIPROCAL IVF

    Lesbian couples may choose to retrieve the eggs from one partner, inseminate those eggs with donor sperm and have the resulting embryo(s) placed into the other partner, who will hopefully become pregnant via this process. This is known as reciprocal IVF. Many couples opt to repeat the process in reverse at a later time.

    EGG DONOR IVF

    Sometimes, especially with women who are a bit older, egg donor IVF will yield the best chance at pregnancy. If egg donor IVF is the right choice for both of you, you will work with your clinic or an agency to identify a donor.

    SURROGACY

    If neither of you are able to carry a pregnancy, working with a surrogate is an option you may wish to consider. With surrogacy, eggs may be retrieved from one partner, fertilized with donor sperm and the resulting embryos implanted in the surrogate’s uterus. Alternatively, an egg donor’s eggs may be used.

    INFERTILITY

    Procedures such as IUI, IVF, egg donor IVF and surrogacy may be recommended if a diagnosis of infertility is uncovered in one or both partners. Infertility is very common and its causes extensive. While no one wants to hear that pregnancy will be challenging to achieve, infertility is no longer the barrier to motherhood it once was. Path2Parenthood’s comprehensive library is a great place to learn about diagnoses and treatments.

    Look through our Infertility Guide to see if this may be you.

    RESOURCES FOR YOU

    The Inferility Work-Up: A Guide for Lesbians »
    The Gay Woman’s Guide to Becoming a Mom »
    What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) »
    Accupuncture, Stress, and In Vitro Fertilization »

  • Would you need second parent adoption?

    When a baby is born to a gay couple, a second parent adoption may be required, in order to assure that both partners have the same level of legal rights and responsibilities. This may be required even if the couple is married. This easy process may begin during pregnancy or shortly after birth and will require the guidance of legal counsel.

    Find a Professional

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