Two Mothers as Parents

How do Two Lesbians become Parents?

Female Homosexual Family Building

Lesbians who wish to start a family now have many options. According to U.S. Census results for 2010, around 111,000 same sex couples are raising adopted, biological, or step children. Of the female couples, around 24% are parents, compared to 10% of male couples.


Donor Sperm Insemination


A lesbian couple can have children using donor sperm. The sperm donor can be a friend or one of the women’s family member, or the couple can choose to use an anonymous donor. The fertility clinic follows strict recommended guidelines from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), which involve screening the sperm for certain diseases. The donor sperm can be joined with one of the women’s eggs using intrauterine insemination, or both women can have an egg fertilized using in vitro fertilization (IVF).


With in vitro fertilization, the woman is given fertility medications to propagate the growth of many eggs in her ovaries. The eggs can be removed in a simple egg retrieval office procedure. Once removed, the donor sperm is combined with the eggs in the Lesbian Family Buildinglaboratory, and the resulting embryos are placed back into the woman’s uterus. One woman can donate the eggs, and the other woman can carry the baby. With intrauterine insemination, the donor sperm is placed into the uterus via a catheter, which is inserted through the cervix.


Intracervical Insemination (ICI)


Another method of artificial insemination for lesbian couples is intracervical insemination. ICI uses a flexible catheter to insert unwashed sperm into the cervix, which is the base of the uterus at the back of the vagina. The chances of pregnancy are around 25% per ICI cycle, but this depends on the quality of the sperm and the recipient female’s fertility. This method is quicker and cheaper than IVF, but there is a higher risk of infection.


Surrogates, Gestational Carriers, and Donor Eggs


If both woman have problems where they cannot carry the baby to term, or if they are older and cannot use their eggs, surrogacy, gestational carriers, and donor eggs are all options. Donor eggs are used when the women do not have eggs that are of good quality or will not produce viable embryos. For women who wish to use another woman’s eggs, a traditional surrogate is a woman who carries a baby to term for a couple. A gestational carrier is a woman who receives a fertilized egg (embryo) to carry the pregnancy to term.


Adoption and Foster Children


Many lesbian couples may choose to adopt or serve as foster parents. This is a rewarding experience, as the couple gets to give a child a permanent home. Many states now recognize same-sex couples as eligible for adoption. While adoption is quite expensive, there is currently a critical shortage of adoptive and foster parents, which means adoption and foster care are good options for lesbian women who wish to have a family.


Cost Considerations


For lesbian couples wanting to have children, cost is an issue. Artificial insemination cost around $3,000, which does not include donor sperm. The cost of in vitro fertilization can run around $10,000 per cycle, and not every attempt ends in a pregnancy. For women under age 35 years, around 90% achieve pregnancy after three attempts at IVF. The cost is not just financial, there is quite an emotional cost involved also.