For LGBTQ+ couples and individuals selecting the best path to parenthood can be overwhelming in light of the many available options. Below is a list of options to help you make an informed decision; this is informational and not an effort to guide a decision that is truly your own.
Biological Routes to Starting an LGBT Family
- Artificial Insemination
- Artificial insemination is the process by which a donor’s sperm is inserted directly into a woman’s uterus, and is typically the most cost-effective option for lesbian couples interested in being biologically connected to their child.
- Fertility Preservation
- While anyone can engage in fertility preservation, an AMA Journal of Ethics article notes it can be especially valuable for transgender individuals who elect to begin hormone replacement therapy or seek surgical means of transition. These methods of transition almost invariably result in infertility, so many trans people preemptively freeze their eggs or sperm before medical or hormonal transition so that they may be accessed later on when they are ready to start their biological LGBT family.
- In Vitro Fertilization
- In Vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process by which an egg is fertilized outside of the body and transferred to the uterus where the child is carried to term. For gay men interested in being biologically connected to their child, IVF is typically a necessary step in the surrogacy process. Lesbian couples, on the other hand, may arrive at IVF only after other methods of insemination have failed, or if either partner encounters other fertility issues.
- For straight couples and lesbians, surrogacy is typically considered if a woman has experienced miscarriages or unsuccessful IVF attempts. For gay men, surrogacy is a way to conceive a child that is biologically connected to one or both partners through the process of artificial insemination or IVF. While less common, a lesbian couple may also use a surrogate mother if one or both partners are unable to produce an egg or unable to carry a child to term.
Non-Biological Routes to Starting an LGBT Family
- Not everyone wants to (or can) biologically conceive a child, and many individuals and couples turn instead to the legal process of adoption.
- Intentional co-parenting — as opposed to co-parenting as the result of a divorce — takes place when unpartnered parents set out to raise a child together.
- Foster Parenting
- Foster parenting is a way of caring for a child of any age for a range of time, usually because the child has been removed from a prior familial situation deemed unfit. Fostering can, but doesn’t always, lead to permanent adoption.
Regardless of how you approach family planning, there are many valuable resources and organizations whose goal it is to assist LGBTQ couples and individuals on their journey to parenthood.
(Excerpted from Everything you need to know about LGBT Family Planning)
Central Ohio Resources
- Choice Network: https://choicenetworkadoptions.com/
- Specializes in ensuring there is a process in place for people to create a plan for their unexpected pregnancy and profiling families in a raw, true way.
- Family Pride Network: https://familypridenetwork.org/
- Mission is to connect and support children, families, and prospective parents in the LGBTQ community through social events, educational programs, and professional resources.
- Considering Adoption: Columbus Adoption & Foster Care Resources
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation: Adoption
- “Legal Basics for L.G.B.T.Q. Parents” (NYT, 2020)
- National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center’s “Pathways to Parenthood for LGBT People” (2016)