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LGBTQ+ Empowerment

Family Building Options and Opportunities for LGBTQ+ Families

Tracie Sullivan

Grassroots Outreach Senior Manager, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association

Building a family is a big decision for any couple or individual, and LGBTQ+ couples have additional steps to consider.

You may be thinking, “How do I even get started?” “What are my options?” “What pathway to parenthood works best for me and my partner?” It can feel overwhelming, but the good news is there are many options to consider, including reproductive treatment, surrogacy, adoption, and foster care. 

Where to start

If you’re using reproductive treatment or a gestational carrier, the first step is to connect with your partner to discuss donor options. Do you have a known donor in mind? If not, you will need to consider donor sperm, donor egg, or donor embryo choices. Consulting with your doctor and clinic will be helpful to learn about next steps.

Once you have decided on a donor method, there are several reproductive treatment pathways to parenthood. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) inserts sperm into a uterus during ovulation. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a procedure where eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory, creating embryos which are then transferred to the uterus through the cervix to enhance the chances of pregnancy. Costs vary based on the procedure, medical history, and insurance coverage.

Gestational surrogacy, in which the surrogate does not have a genetic tie to the child they are carrying, is an another option for your family to discuss. This is different from the more traditional surrogacy which is less common today. There are different forms of contractual agreements, and it is important to note that each state is different regarding legality of surrogacy agreements. As some states are not surrogacy “friendly,” it is recommended to connect with a legal attorney who specializes in reproductive law before you get started.

Adoption and foster care are also options for family building. To learn about the differences between adopting and foster care click here. Each has different requirements, costs, and timelines to consider. It is also important to research laws in your state for LGBTQ inclusivity for adoption and foster care. While organizations like RESOLVE are working hard to overturn discriminatory adoption and foster care laws, some are still in place across the United States.

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