LGBT Parents don’t necessarily need fertility support in the traditional way; but they often do need support. There are many routes to creating your future family. Here are just a few:
Adoption agencies in the UK are made up of Local Authorities and voluntary units. The application process can take from six months to a year. However, the time taken for matching a child can be more uncertain. Same-sex couples have been able to adopt together since 2005.
Women: Unknown Donors
Using an unknown donor carries the least risk, both legally and with regard to transmitted diseases. Donor banks can be contacted through fertility clinics. Here, information on eye, skin and hair colour, height,
build, ethnicity, education and hobbies are usually available. Children can find their donor parent when they reach 18. Also, IVF laws have changed to enable both bio and non-bio lesbian mums to be named on the birth certificate.
Women: Known Donors
If the donor is known and is not going to take an active role in parenting the child, it is still important to draw up a legally binding contract to protect both parties against maintenance claims and custody rights.
Many single gay men and lesbians look into this possibility, because it not only shares the workload, but also the expense. To avoid pitfalls, there needs to be a strong pre-agreement in place through both parties’ solicitors and a good understanding of each of the parents’ expectations.
Clinics can help you pick an anonymous donor and offer IUI, a natural form of insemination, or IVF, where eggs are removed from the patient and fertilised so that embryos are formed then inseminated.
Clinics can help you increase your chances of pregnancy by helping you produce more eggs using medication. However, freezing the sperm does decrease its effectiveness. Parents-to-be need to go through tests and a psychological evaluation before beginning treatment.
It is advisable when using a known donor and home insemination that you make sure you carry out all the necessary screening tests. Using untested sperm carries the risk of HIV infection and genetic mutations. Also, make sure you have sought legal advice.
It is possible to pay to use surrogates in the UK. By law, they are not able to earn any money from carrying the baby. Many opt for overseas surrogates; however, this method is extremely costly. New laws on surrogacy changed in 2010 allowing both fathers to be named on the birth certificate.