Is Third Party Reproduction Right for You?
For over 30 years, the physicians of RMA Long Island IVF have been helping couples and individuals build their families. Decades ago, the groundbreaking assisted reproductive technology of in vitro fertilization, or IVF, was initially available only to straight, married couples.
Since then, IVF and other developing technologies and third-party reproduction practices like donor egg, surrogacy, and gestational carriers have expanded family building options for single and married members of the LGBT community.
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Patient Information Guide defines the phrase “third-party reproduction, as “involving someone other than the individual or couple that plans to raise the child (intended parents) in the process of reproduction ...including using donor eggs, sperm, or embryos and gestational carrier arrangements, in which the pregnancy is carried by someone other than the intended parent(s).”*
Some straight and many LGBT individuals or couples use third-party reproduction when family building.
Who could benefit from using an egg donor?
An egg donor in the RMA Long Island IVF Donor Egg Program generously helps intended parents struggling with infertility because they:
- were born without oocytes (eggs);
- experienced menopause prematurely before age 40;
- have chromosomal problems with their own eggs;
- have undergone cancer treatments which affected their eggs;
- have diminished fertility due to age; or
- are a male same-sex couple who needs donated eggs in order to build a family.
Who could benefit from using donor sperm?
At RMA-Long Island IVF, patients who choose to use donor sperm may include:
- single or lesbian women or those who identify as a birthing parent;
- those whose male partner has no recoverable sperm
- those who may want back up sperm specimens for difficult cases of male factor infertility.
Sperm donors may be known to the intended parent(s), like family or friends, or may be anonymous.
What’s the difference between a surrogate and gestational carrier?
There is often confusion as these terms are used interchangeably by the public. But in a nutshell, a gestational carrier or a surrogate is a woman or birthing parent who agrees to carry a baby for an individual intended parent, IP, or an IP couple.
Surrogacy is when the woman or birthing parent carrying the pregnancy uses their own egg and is biologically linked to the child they're turning over to the IP(s). In a gestational carrier scenario, the person carrying the baby is not biologically linked to it as the egg that created the baby came from an egg donor or the IP.
Despite intense advocacy efforts, surrogacy is not legal in New York at the present time. Resolve, the National Infertility Association has information on the status of pending legislation and advocacy efforts to make surrogacy legal as well as other legislation to improve access to infertility treatment for LGBT and straight individuals and couples.
Who could benefit from using a gestational carrier?
An RMA-Long Island IVF Physician will determine if any of the following clinical indications are present which may warrant an individual or couple using gestational carrier services:
- those who have had their uterus removed but retain one or both ovaries;
- uterine factors such as fibroids, severe scar tissue, DES exposure, or congenital anomalies, that cannot be surgically corrected;
- serious medical conditions in which a pregnancy would put a birthing parent’s health at significant risk; or
- same-sex couples or individuals who need the uterus of a third-party gestational carrier in order to build a family.
Notwithstanding the social, ethical, and legal considerations, using third-party reproduction technologies to build a family has enabled countless gay and straight individuals and couples to have a child--often one biologically linked to them--when they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to.
For decades the RMA Long Island IVF physicians have been building families in the LGBT community based on the belief that everyone who wants to deserves a chance to be a parent. Along with our partners at the LGBT Network, RMA Long Island IVF is committed to treating, educating, and supporting Long Island’s LGBT community. We are a major sponsor of Pride on the Beach each June, and offer multiple, free educational seminars on LGBT family building options annually, and recognize and respect the unique family building needs of our patients in the LGBT community.
Please contact us today with any questions or to set up an initial evaluation with one of RMA Long Island IVF’s physicians. We’d love to help you build your family.