Becoming a Parent
For gay, lesbian, bi- and transgender couples, as well as single parents, our experienced staff will equip you with expert medical advice, emotional support, and access to legal and financial resources that can help make starting your family a smooth and comfortable process.
Options for Starting Your Family
The Center for Collaborative Reproduction was designed with LGBT families in mind. As one of the nation’s leading infertility treatment practices, Fertility Centers of Illinois’ Center for Collaborative Reproduction was created specifically for patients using egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation, or surrogacy (gestational carrier) to build their family. Our highly skilled reproductive team has worked extensively with egg donors, surrogates, and sperm donors. From providing guidance during the selection process of your donor and/or surrogate, to coordinating your specific treatment plan — you will be in the hands of a dynamic team of experts in the field of collaborative reproduction.
You will have the option of a number of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), depending on your gender, including:
In Vitro Fertilization — One or more eggs, each removed from a ripe follicle, is fertilized by a sperm outside the human body.
Reciprocal IVF — This allows the women in a lesbian relationship to each feel like they have a biological tie to the child by using the eggs from one partner and the womb of the other.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) — Used in conjunction with IVF, one or more eggs, each removed from a ripe follicle, is fertilized outside the body by injecting one sperm directly into each egg. If fertilization occurs, the embryo(s) are transferred into the uterus.
Sperm Donation — This is the donation of sperm with the intention that it will be used to impregnate a woman in order to have a baby. Sperm donors can be anonymous or known. The FDA only requires that anonymous donors be screened for certain STDs and other risk factors. However, we adhere to the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), requiring that even known donors go through the testing process.
Egg Donation — Eggs, removed from the ovaries of one woman, are donated for use by another to create a child. The donor receives medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs. At the same time, the recipient or intended mother would receive medications to prepare her body for conception. The egg would be fertilized in the laboratory through IVF and transferred to the recipient’s uterus. The egg donor may be known or selected through an egg donation agency. At Fertility Centers of Illinois, we have our own in-house egg donor program that follows very strict FDA guidelines to ensure that you receive properly screened and tested eggs from healthy donors. Our donors undergo intensive screening that includes medical, genetic, STD (sexually transmitted diseases), and psychological testing.
Embryo Freezing — Cryopreservation, also known as “freezing,” is the storing of embryos at very low temperatures so that they can be thawed and used at a later time. At FCI, all of the embryos are cryopreserved through a process called “vitrification.” This process is superior to traditional freezing methods because it allows cooling of the embryo to be done much faster, avoiding the formation of ice crystals that cause damage to the cell.
Gestational Carrier (Surrogacy) — Surrogacy involves donor eggs and sperm, which are used to make embryos that are transferred into the surrogate’s uterus. In these cases, the surrogate has no genetic bond to the child. We can help you choose a surrogate, as well as navigate you through the legal and emotional aspects of this path to parenthood.
Adoption — There are several options for LGBT couples who choose to adopt. At Fertility Centers of Illinois, we work with some of the areas most reputable and respected adoption agencies. While each state carries its own laws for same-sex couples seeking to adopt a child, all states must recognize out-of-state adoptions, regardless of legal status in that particular state.
Our experts will work closely with you and answer any questions you may have as you make the important decision about which of these options is right for you. In addition, it may help to read stories of other gay and lesbian couples or individuals who have become parents with our help.