Starting a family: Options for lesbian couples

Happy smiling babyBY MICHELLE OTTEY, PhD

Lesbian-identified women often start the family-building process by thinking about sperm donors, be they known or unknown, from a sperm bank. Before choosing a donor, it is best to set up a visit with your OB/GYN and assess your fertility. Your physician will be able to give you some information about the kind of donor sperm preparation you will need. You can purchase either Intracervical Insemination (ICI) or Intrauterine Insemination/Washed (IUI) prep sperm. The ICI samples are placed onto the cervix for an insemination either in a doctor’s office or at home. The IUI samples are inserted through the cervix directly into the uterus for an insemination in the physician’s office.

If you use a known donor, he will still have to be tested and screened, similarly to a donor from a sperm bank. The FDA requires these precautions to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infectious diseases, like HIV/AIDS. Your physician will be able to direct you to a clinic or sperm bank in your area that provides this service. Sperm banks have hundreds of donors available online, all of whom have given up parental rights as part of their agreement. You also need to decide which type of donor you want: Anonymous or ID Option.


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