Must Know Facts About Starting a Family for Lesbians

By Dr Andrew Zuschmann, specialist at Rainbow Fertility

There are many important decisions that need to be made and facts you need to understand if you are a thinking of starting a family.

Here are the key things to consider:

Choose a Sperm Donor

One of the first things a lesbian woman or couple undergoing fertility treatment must do is choose a sperm donor. Sperm donors are classified as either “known” or “clinic-recruited” depending on the type of relationship between donor and recipient.

A “known donor” is where the sperm donor’s identity is known (often a friend or family member). “Clinic-recruited” donors are where the identity of the donor is unknown, although identifying information is available when the child reaches 18 years (or younger, depending on the relevant state legislation or regulations). Clinic-recruited donors are screened for a range of factors including medical history and only available through a licenced fertility clinic.

Decide who will Carry the Pregnancy

A lesbian couple must decide who will carry the pregnancy. Personal preference and existing medical conditions often influence who will carry the pregnancy. A common choice is to undertake partner IVF.

Partner IVF is an option for lesbian couples where both partners want to be physically involved with the conception of the baby. The eggs are retrieved from one partner and fertilised with donor sperm and the resulting embryo transferred into the uterus of the other partner who then carries the pregnancy.

Range of Methods to Conceive

Finally, there are a range of methods to conceive a baby as a lesbian including: donor insemination (or Intra-Uterine Insemination – IUI); In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) used when IUI or surgical interventions have failed or ; and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) a technique developed to maximise the chance of fertilisation and recommended for people who have had a poor or no fertilisation during standard IVF.

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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.