Everyone who wants to start a family should have that option, including LGBQT+ families. Access Fertility proudly supports same sex couples with our accessible and affordable IVF treatment options. If you are in an LGBTQ+ relationship and require IVF to achieve your dreams of having a baby, then we can help. You may also be able to get a refund if your treatment is not successful. Find out more about the fertility options for same sex couples that we offer below, as well as the alternatives outside our programmes.
Fertility options for same sex couples
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is where the eggs are collected and the donor sperm is assessed and the high-quality sperm is then mixed with the eggs, outside of the body, in the lab. Once fertilisation has taken place, the highest quality embryo(s) are replaced back into the uterus.
Access Fertility’s plans provide multiple cycles and refund options for IVF, ICSI and donor egg treatment. Same sex couples are welcome to use all our programmes. The only restriction is that we are currently unable to support shared motherhood or egg swapping. This means that the person having their eggs collected must also be the one to receiev the embryo transfer.
Read more about the same sex couples choosing Access Fertility to help achieve their dream of having a baby. Alternatively, you can watch some of our patient videos, where Angela and Claire share their story.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, is a type of fertility treatment commonly used by lesbian couples. IUI uses the body’s natural processes so it is less invasive than IVF, but, unfortunately, is not as successful.
In IUI, donor sperm is assessed then the non-mobile, poor quality sperm removed. The best quality sperm are then injected directly into the woman’s uterus where fertilisation then hopefully takes place.
It uses the body’s own natural processes so fewer drugs are required compared to IVF, and you can choose to have IUI with or without fertility drugs. However the success rates are lower than that of IVF as there is less control over fertilisation. Unfortunately, because of those lower success rates, Access Fertility programmes do not cover IUI.
Learn more about the difference between artificial insemination and IVF in our blog.
This is the main treatment option for male couples wanting a family. You can either mix a partner’s sperm with the surrogate’s eggs, or with donated eggs.
This option involves finding a surrogate who is willing and able to carry to the baby for you.
Surrogacy may also be appropriate for women who have a medical condition that makes it impossible or dangerous for them to get pregnant and give birth. It can also be used by single people wanting a baby.
Access Fertility does not currently offer any programmes for couples wishing to pursue surrogacy.
Things to consider:
Which type of treatment package you would prefer (IUI, IVF etc)?
You will need to speak to a clinic to find out which is best for you. It may depend on your initial screening test results and any relevant history.
Do your research and make sure you get on well with the staff and have a good feeling about the clinic you choose. Location is often a key factor in choosing a clinic due to the number of appointments you have to attend, as well as clinic success rates. More information on choosing a clinic can be found on the HFEA website. You can also use our clinic finder, to discover the leading IVF clinics that Access Fertility partners with.
Making sure you are as healthy as possible before you start treatment. Read our previous blog about surviving the IVF process.
How you will fund your programme – find out more about Access Fertility packages
With Access Fertility packages you can save up to 30% compared with pay as you go options at the clinic.
- IVF Refund Programme: up to 3 cycles of IVF and unlimited frozen embryo transfers. Up to 100% refund if you don’t have a baby. Medical review required. Available to those under 40.
- IVF Unlimited: unlimited number of IVF cycles and unlimited frozen embryo transfers over 2 years and 100% refund if you don’t have a baby. Medical review required. Available to those under 38.
- IVF Multi-Cycle: up to 2 IVF cycles and unlimited frozen embryo transfers. No Medical review required. Available to those under 45.
- IVF Donor Egg Refund Programme: Available to those under 50 using donor eggs. Up to 100% refund if you don’t have a baby.
- Pay the clinic directly: see clinics’ websites for price information.
Do you want shared motherhood or egg swapping?
If you want shared motherhood or to be able to do egg swapping, you need to find a clinic that offers this. Shared motherhood is where you both undergo scans and appointments and you plan for synchronised cycles. Both partners then go through the stimulation process but one partner provides the eggs to fertilise with donor sperm and the other partner undergoes the embryo transfer.
Egg swapping is as it sounds. One partner will have her eggs collected. These are then fertilised with donor sperm and the resulting embryo(s) replaced into the second partner who undergoes the embryo transfer. Not all clinics offer these procedures, nor are they currently covered in Access Fertility treatment packages.
Which partner will undergo treatment?
This can be one of the biggest decisions when undergoing fertility treatment. Sometimes both partners will attend a consultation together and both have their fertility assessed. They then decide who will undergo the treatment based upon these results. In some cases couples decide that the partner with a lower ovarian reserve should undergo treatment first, before their fertility declines. Meanwhile, in others it makes sense that the partner with a better ovarian reserve should have treatment first, as it is more likely to be successful. Another option with IVF is that one partner donates the eggs while the other carries the embryos. Ultimately you must make the decision that feels right for you.
Choosing a sperm donor
Another big decision for same sex couples considering their fertility options is selecting donor sperm. Sperm donors can be either known or anonymous. Known donors might include friends and family members. Sometimes a relative of the partner who is not undergoing treatment will donate sperm so that both partners have a genetic connection to the child. Alternatively, sperm from an anonymous donor can be bought from a variety of clinics and sperm banks. In the UK, only information on the donor’s height, ethnicity, hair and eye colour and occupation is available and the donor remains anonymous until any child born turns 18. More detailed information can be obtained if you choose sperm from overseas sperm banks such as Cryos and the European Sperm Bank.