Dr. Kate Devine from our K Street office answered questions related to LGBTQ family building during our most recent LGBTQ Webinar. Here are some of the highlights and facts about LGBTQ family building that you might want to know.
Q: How long does the process usually take from start to finish?
Dr. Devine: “This depends very much on what the process is. For example, if we’re talking about a same-sex female couple who is interested in doing IUI using an anonymous sperm donor, you could come in, have your initial consultation, get the testing done and have your first insemination in about 2 months. It also depends on what we find in the evaluation and how motivated you are in moving forward quickly. There really doesn’t need to be a huge rush though. We’re happy to let you and your partner move in your own time frame.”
Q: Is it possible that a donor sperm can be incompatible for a woman?
Dr. Devine: “Yes and no. One of the benefits of being able to choose your sperm donor is the ability on our end to test for infectious diseases and genetic autosomal mutation screening to find out as much as we can so that we can select a sperm donor that is akin to the lowest possible risk for your pregnancy. So yes, we recommend you do some testing to help you select the most compatible donor from a genetic and infectious disease perspective.”
Q: Can you talk more about guaranteed programs in relation to same-sex male couples?
Dr. Devine: “Essentially, if we have sperm to work with, a screened gestational carrier and an egg donor who is either screened by us or another trusted organization that we work with, we can have you start with our Shared Risk 100% Refund program. With this program, you can have up to 6 cycles of IVF. If you don’t have a baby for any reason or you withdraw from the program, you receive a 100% refund.
That doesn’t always mean that you’ll get the money from the gestational carrier agency back, but it does provide a large degree of assurance, and it’s a huge advantage that if all the screening is favorable and you don’t go home with a baby, we’re going to give you your money back.”
Watch: SGF’s New On-Demand LGBTQ Family Building Webinar
Q: Are there weight requirements for the woman hoping to carry the child?
Dr. Devine: “Here at SGF, for the goal of a healthy pregnancy for the mom and baby, we do have a BMI threshold in order to help you become pregnant, and that is because we want you to have a healthy baby and a safe pregnancy. That’s not to say that we won’t see you at an initial consultation if you’re not at this BMI. On the contrary, we work with you to help you achieve your BMI goals, which should be a BMI of 44 or lower for IUI treatment, and a BMI of below 40 for IVF treatment.”
Q: Do you provide gender determination?
Dr. Devine: “In a couple that’s doing IVF using PGT-A (preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy), the genetic sex of the embryo does exist as a piece of information. We certainly don’t encourage people to choose an embryo for transfer based only on gender – we want to choose the one that is the healthiest.”
Q: Does SGF have recommendations for legal adoption services?
Dr. Devine: “Yes, we do. This kind of information is provided to you during an initial consultation.”
Q: Does reciprocal IVF/Co-IVF for female couples eliminate the need or suggestion for second parent adoption?
Dr. Devine: “Not necessarily. Yes, you can write a legal contract using an attorney specifying that both women are mothers, but the birth certificate is going to have the name of the mother who delivered the child, so it does not eliminate the need for second parent adoption.”
Q: For two women, are two separate consults necessary?
Dr. Devine: “No, both can be seen in one visit. You can come in for a consultation as a couple same as for our heterosexual patients and we’ll order all the testing needed for either or both of you.”
Q: Does insurance usually cover the cost of reciprocal IVF?
Dr. Devine: “It’s highly dependent on the insurance. Not all insurance covers IVF, but if it does for you, usually there is some degree of medication coverage.”
Q: What does “parental rights” mean for male couples?
Dr. Devine: “Essentially, the male couples are going to need to specify a certain legal contract with their attorney that says that they are the legal parents of that child. With the help of an attorney, the same-sex couple will become official parents of the child born from a gestational carrier.”
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For more information about SGF’s treatment options for LBGTQ individuals and couples, or to schedule an appointment, please contact our New Patient Center at 1-877-971-7755 or fill out this brief form.