IVF for Same Sex Couples

IVF (in vitro fertilisation) has provided a means by which many couples across the world have managed to get pregnant when they would otherwise be unable to do so. IVF is a popular treatment for infertility, but is also used often by same sex couples to either get pregnant if female, or birth a child via surrogacy if male.

Same sex couples

Same sex couples may want to use IVF rather than adoption so that they have a biological connection. IVF is a great means by which to achieve this, although in many cases sex cells from a donor will be necessary to complete the process. IVF aims to use male sperm to fertilise an egg in an artificial environment, usually a glass container called a petri dish, before implanting the successfully fertilised egg into a womb for what is for all intents and purposes a normal pregnancy.

Female same sex couples will often need to obtain donor sperm which most fertility clinics will be able to arrange. Once IVF with donated sperm is completed, one of you may choose to bear the child within your womb, or opt for a surrogate if one is available.

Male same sex couples will often require a donated egg for IVF, and then a surrogate in whose womb the fertilised egg will grow. Surrogacy is surrounded by legal issues, and so you are likely to be advised to seek help from a solicitor to make a more formal arrangement with your surrogate. This prevents any future legal complications and can provide peace of mind for both you, your partner, and your surrogate.

Issues surrounding IVF for same sex couples

Recent changes in civil partnership laws mean that same sex couples have the same rights as married couples when it comes to IVF and do not face discrimination based on their gender. Post 1990, eligibility to use IVF treatment looked at the financial stability of a couple to see if they were able to provide the baby with an adequate upbringing. However this included "the need of the child to have a father", which discriminated against lesbian couples. The chair of the British Fertility Society, Allison Murdoch argued that as long as the child is going to be brought up in a loving, caring environment their parents’ sexuality should not be seen as an issue.

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