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Future of Fertility

What You Might Not Know About Creating LGBTQ+ Families

LGBTQ+ parents or would-be parents are entering a world of evolving possibilities for having biological children — from sperm and egg donation to surrogacy. Recent legal advancements regarding same-sex adoption are also enabling more children to find loving homes with an LGBTQ+ family.


Dr. Bradford Kolb

Managing Partner, HRC Fertility and Co-Founder, Love Comes First


Melinda Maerker

Co-Founder, Love Comes First

The fertility industry and adoption are changing in what might be surprising ways.

Sperm donation and lesbian couples

Direct insemination is a procedure by which single women, women in same-sex couples, and some trans men can become pregnant. In vitro fertilization (IVF), where eggs are fertilized outside the womb, is another option.

But the first step is choosing a donor. Fortunately, according to Scott Brown of the California Cryobank, the industry has changed and most of their clients are now lesbian couples and single mothers by choice. This has resulted in a shift from matching physical characteristics to making an emotional connection based on the donor’s interests and personality in the form of essays, recordings, poems and other creative means of expression.

Inside the latest trends in surrogacy and egg donation

Gay men wanting to have biological children must turn to egg donation and surrogacy. And while the process may be costly to the parents, contrary to popular belief, most surrogates are more motivated by helping parents build their families than financial compensation. Most agencies require surrogates to already have and be raising their own children as well.

Emotional separation is also the reason why the surrogate and egg donor are almost always separate individuals, says Stuart Bell of Growing Generations. Plus, there are more women willing to donate eggs than carry a pregnancy, which allows for more options.

As for egg donors, like sperm donors, they are now more likely to be known than unknown. This is partly because, according to Wendie Wilson-Miller of Gifted Journeys, health professionals in the industry have determined it’s potentially better for the child and eventually becomes part of their story.

Same-sex couples adopt more

Currently, there are over 400,000 children across the country in the foster care system. Though some states still discourage same-sex adoption, according to the Williams Institute, same-sex couples are seven times more likely to foster and/or adopt than different-sex couples.

Rich Valenza of the non-profit organization RaiseAChild thinks part of the reason is because  LGBTQ+ people have often experienced some kind of “disconnect” from their families and communities as well. As a result, there’s a greater personal connection and compassion when it comes to fostering or adopting.

Do LGBTQ+ people make better parents?

In a word, yes — at least among donor-inseminated children of lesbian parents based on the longitudinal study spearheaded by Dr. Nanette Gartrell. This is primarily because the mothers were very committed and involved in raising their children right from the start.

All of which goes to say there are many options for building LGBTQ+ families as well as reasons to encourage and celebrate them.

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