A solution for everyone
LGBTQ+ Fertility Care in Tennessee
Over the years, Tennessee Fertility Institute has helped many LGBTQ+ individuals and couples achieve their dreams of becoming parents. We believe that everyone deserves the chance to experience the joy of having a child and are dedicated to providing an inclusive experience for anyone of any gender and sexuality.
Third-Party Reproduction for LGBTQ+ Families
Third-party reproduction is a form of fertility care in which a third-party assists someone in their family-building journey, either by donating their DNA (egg, sperm, and embryo donation) or as a surrogate. Third-party reproduction plays an immensely important role in LGBTQ+ family building and makes it possible for gay, lesbian, and transgender parents to have a biological or genetically-related child.
Egg donation is a process in which healthy, viable eggs are retrieved from a donor and used in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. This is a common technique used by same-sex cisgender male couples. When you choose egg donation as your path to parenthood, you have the option of working with either a known or anonymous donor. Known egg donors are typically family members or friends who have agreed to donate their eggs to help you with your family-building journey, whereas anonymous donors are found through egg donor agencies.
Similar to egg donation, sperm donation is when an individual donates healthy, viable sperm to be used in intrauterine insemination (IUI) or IVF. This form of third-party reproduction is commonly used by same-sex cisgender female couples. Just like with egg donation, you have the option of working with a known or anonymous sperm donor. Known sperm donors must go through a rigorous screening process that is outlined by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the FDA. Anonymous sperm donors have already gone through this process and their sperm is stored in cryopreservation sperm banks. If you choose to work with an anonymous sperm donor, we can help you find an accredited sperm bank.
When individuals and couples end up with a surplus of embryos after a successful IVF cycle, they sometimes choose to donate the extra embryos so that someone else can have a child. When working with donated embryos, you can rest assured knowing that we use only the healthiest embryos from patients who pass the appropriate physical, genetic, and psychological screenings. As with all forms of tissue donation, we strictly follow the guidelines outlined by the ASRM, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, and the FDA.
Surrogacy is a type of third-party reproduction in which a woman carries and delivers a child for someone else. There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and traditional. In gestational surrogacy, the woman acts as a gestational carrier. Eggs and sperm are collected from the intended parents and/or donors and brought together via IVF. Once this has resulted in a successful embryo, the embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. If the embryo successfully implants itself into the uterus, the surrogate will carry the pregnancy and give birth to the baby.
In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate provides both her uterus and her eggs, sharing a genetic link to the child she carries. In most cases, this is done through IUI, with your chosen sperm being placed directly inside the surrogate’s uterus.
Fertility Procedures for LGBTQ+ Family-Building
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is one of the most common fertility treatments used in family-building, including LGBTQ+ fertility. It involves retrieving eggs and sperm from intended parents and/or donors and combining them in a lab so that the sperm can fertilize the eggs and create an embryo. The embryos are then left to develop for three to five days before being transferred to the recipient’s uterus. Embryos can also be cryopreserved for future cycles.
Reciprocal IVF is an option available to same-sex cisgender female couples. In reciprocal IVF, one partner provides the eggs that will be fertilized; the resulting embryos are then transferred to the other partner’s uterus. This makes it possible for both women to be involved in the creation and birth of the baby, with one partner being the child’s genetic mother and the other being the birth mother.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI is a minimally invasive procedure that involves placing specially prepared sperm directly into the recipient’s uterus. This can be coordinated with the recipient’s natural ovulation cycle or be performed in conjunction with fertility medications.
Fertility Preservation for Transgender Individuals
Fertility preservation is the process of freezing genetic materials through cryopreservation so that they can be used later in the future. This is an excellent option for transgender patients who are considering gender-affirming therapies or surgeries and wish to preserve their future family-building options.
For transmasculine patients, fertility preservation refers to egg freezing, which involves using fertility medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs in a single ovulation cycle. Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved through a minimally-invasive procedure.
For transfeminine patients, fertility preservation refers to sperm freezing, in which the patient produces a semen sample, usually through self-stimulation. The semen sample is then analyzed for sperm count and quality through a process known as sperm washing. This process separates the sperm from the seminal fluid and ideally will result in a concentrated sample of healthy sperm.
Whether you are freezing eggs or sperm, the cryopreservation process is relatively the same. Your genetic materials are prepared with cryoprotectants and flash-frozen through vitrification, which helps to maintain their structural integrity during the freezing and thawing processes. Sperm and eggs are then stored in liquid nitrogen until you are ready to use them.
Your LGBTQ+ Fertility Clinic in Tennessee
Every LGBTQ+ family-building journey is personal – your care should be too. If you’re interested in exploring your options in an inclusive and supportive environment, request a consultation with one of our fertility specialists. Let’s make a baby together.