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Fertility treatment for LGBT+ people

If you’re a LGBT+ person or couple and want to have a family with a biological connection to you or your partner, you may need to have fertility treatment. Get an overview of what to expect on this page.

Understanding treatment

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

IUI or donor insemination is often used by people in female same-sex relationships who want a family and can also be used to impregnate a surrogate. You can have it with or without fertility drugs and the whole procedure is relatively quick and painless.

Find out more about IUI

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

IVF may be appropriate for people in female same-sex relationships with fertility problems and can be used in surrogacy.

Find out more about IVF

Surrogacy

Surrogacy is the main treatment for people in a male same-sex relationship who want a family. It involves finding a surrogate who is prepared to carry and give birth to a child for you. You can either mix one partner’s sperm with the surrogate’s eggs or with donated eggs.

Find out more about surrogacy

Using a donor

You may need to find a sperm or egg donor (or both) to use in your treatment. There are lots of options for finding a donor.

Find out more about using a donor

Information for trans and non-binary people seeking fertility

Some medical treatments for gender dysphoria, including hormone therapy and surgery, can have an impact on your fertility. If you’re considering starting treatment to physically alter your body, or you’ve already started, find out what your options are for preserving your fertility.

Information for trans and non-binary people seeking fertility

Looking after yourselves

Even if you don’t have fertility problems, fertility treatment itself can be an emotionally draining process. One in three pregnancies end in a miscarriage, plus there’s the possibility treatment might not work. Make sure you’re talking to family and friends if you need to and consider getting additional support from outside your existing network. Stonewall is a great place to start, or you could consider getting counselling either together or individually. 

Find out more about getting emotional support

Decisions about your treatment

There are some important decisions you’ll need to make before you start treatment. If you’re using a donor/surrogate, do you want to ask someone you know or find someone through a clinic? Whose eggs or sperm are you going to use? Are you thinking about having treatment abroad and are you aware of all the issues? Make sure you’ve thought all the issues through and you’re both comfortable with whatever decisions you make.

Fertility treatment abroad

Using donated sperm, eggs or embryos

Using a private sperm donor

Private sperm donation is where you use donated sperm outside of a licensed clinic – it is unregulated and therefore you should be very careful. Donors who donate via a clinic will have to go through tough health tests, they’ll receive proper counselling and all the legal issues will be taken care of. If you use a private sperm donor, there is a risk the donor could be considered the father of your baby, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that.

Home insemination with donor sperm

Legal issues

If you’re not married or in a civil partnership and you want the non-biological partner to be legally recognised as the legal parent of your child, it is essential that you both fill in the correct forms. If you don’t, your donor or surrogate could be considered s the legal parent of your child and sorting that out is extremely time-consuming and expensive. Your clinic will talk you through what’s needed.

Find out more about the legal implications of using donated sperm

Becoming the legal parents of your child

Funding

Fertility treatment can be expensive. If you’re in a male same-sex relationship and having surrogacy you’ll have to pay for treatment privately and if you’re in a female same-sex relationship you’ll need to pay for six cycles of IUI before you qualify for NHS funding (and even then it will depend on what’s available in your area). You can find out more information about treatment costs on our intrauterine insemination and surrogacy pages.

Costs and funding

Publication date: 20 April 2021

Review date: 20 April 2023

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