In Vitro Fertilisation for Lesbians

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) used to treat infertility that has failed to respond to other medical or surgical interventions. IVF literally means “fertilisation in glass” and involves the fertilisation of the egg by the donor sperm in an incubator outside the body, and transfer of the embryo back into the uterus.

The sperm can be obtained from either a known or clinic-recruited (unknown) donor. Lesbian women or couples who are considering IVF will have to determine which type of sperm donor is right for them. For more information visit our Donor Program page.


Illustrated Guide

Please click on the image below to view in full and download our infographic.

Rainbow Fertility_IVF_Infographic_(Lesbian)_vsn3.1


The IVF treatment cycle generally follows these stages:

  • Pre-treatment tests and preparation
  • IVF treatment information and discussion
  • Preparation of ovaries and uterus by intranasal spray (in some instances)
  • Follicle growth treatment (stimulation by injection)
  • Ovulation timing (based on blood tests and ultrasound scans)
  • Egg collection
  • Insemination of eggs with donor sperm
  • Assessment of fertilisation
  • Culturing of the embryos for 2-5 days
  • Embryo transfer to the uterus
  • Pregnancy test (blood test)
  • Ultrasound if pregnant
  • Referral to your chosen antenatal care provider.


IVF Treatment Procedure: Step-by-Step Guide


  • People wishing to have assisted reproductive treatment in Victoria must undergo a criminal records check and child protection order check. For further information please visit our page Legislative Requirements – Victoria.
  • All treatment procedures are carried out in our RTAC (Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee)-accredited fertility clinics, where gametes (eggs and sperm) and embryos are also stored.


Before going ahead with fertility treatment, please consider that each state has different legislation in regard to ART. For example:

  • In South Australia, according to the state’s legislation, females (single women or lesbian couples) are now able to access Assisted Reproductive Technology services if it appears they are unlikely to achieve a pregnancy, due to personal circumstances, other than by assisted reproductive treatment.

Therefore, we encourage you to refer to your own state legislation for more information and see one of our specialists to discuss your individual circumstances and explore your options.


Cost of Treatment

As each treatment cycle is structured to suit individual needs, treatment costs will vary between patients depending on the level of assistance required.

Following your initial consultation with a Rainbow Fertility specialist, you will be given a booking for a complimentary pre-treatment information session with one of our experienced fertility coordinators and patient services administrators. All aspects of your fertility treatment, including the cost structure, will be discussed with you at this time. If you have any questions regarding treatment fees, Medicare and private health insurance rebates before this, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly patient services team. Call: 1300 222 623 or email:

For general information about treatment fees, please visit our Treatment Costs page.


What are the Potential Risks?

There are some potential risks and side effects associated with IVF procedures including;

  • An exaggeration of usual menstrual cycle symptoms (e.g. bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings) because the ovaries have been stimulated to produce more than one follicle.
  • In about 1% of cases, Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) develops. The ovaries become extremely enlarged and extra fluid accumulates in the abdomen. This complication requires rest, close monitoring, intravenous fluids or even drainage of the abdominal fluid. In rare cases, if we feel you are a very high risk for developing OHSS, the embryos may be frozen rather than replaced.
  • If more than one embryo is transferred into the uterus, a multiple pregnancy may occur. Multiple pregnancies carry a higher risk of preterm delivery and other, associated problems. Twins can occur in 10-20% of cases.
  • Fertility medications have not been proven to increase the risk of breast, ovarian or uterine cancer; reassuring data is now available from several large follow-up studies. However, women who have never been pregnant have a higher risk of breast or ovarian cancer. Past or future use of the birth control pill will lower your risk of ovarian cancer. A yearly physical exam is important for the prevention and early detection of all diseases.
  • Women contemplating fertility treatment should be aware of the possible risks, some of which are comparable to those of elective surgery. We encourage you to discuss these with your treating specialist.


Things to Consider

We would like you to take a moment to consider some of the factors that may influence the decisions you make in your journey towards parenthood with ART.

Some of the things you may have to consider are:

  • Relevant laws.
  • Your feelings about creating a family with a known sperm donor or a clinic-recruited donor. Think about your criteria for a donor and the role of the donor.
  • Your feelings about being a single parent if you are undergoing treatment as a single lesbian woman.
  • If you are undergoing treatment as a couple, you need to determine which partner will carry the pregnancy. For some couples this is clear, other couples need to negotiate this based on age, medical history and genetic factors.
  • Your feelings about creating a family where only one partner will be a genetic parent.
  • What if the outcome is unsuccessful: will this have an impact on your relationship?
  • Who needs to know about this: family, friends, work? This could be a great challenge for families who have not accepted their daughter’s sexual orientation and/or female partner.
  • What about the possible offspring? What if they wish to contact the sperm donor? What if they want to know how the donor was chosen? Writing down how these decisions were made is one way to prepare for the number of questions that a child may have about his or her conception and genetic heritage.

We invite you to take your time to consider the above. Try not to feel rushed, and trust your instinct.



At Rainbow Fertility, our specialists have extensive experience in helping create LGBTQIA+ families. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.

Call: 1300 222 623




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Rainbow Fertility has a responsibility to provide Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) based on relevant state or federal laws and guidelines. All individuals/couples are encouraged to obtain their own legal advice regarding the relevant legislation applying to their circumstances.