Options for same sex couples and single women
The Bourn Hall fertility health and wellbeing package is flexible to allow both partners to have fertility testing, and this is advised as it is not unusual for these tests to reveal information about potential fertility issues that can influence treatment choices.
The advice below about fertility treatment is based on biological sex and gives an indication of the options available. If you are transgender or have circumstances that don’t align with the examples below then do book a free consultation with one of our fertility nurses and we can give you personalised advice.
Male couples – the option for male couples is to use a surrogate to carry the pregnancy using donated eggs. The eggs are fertilised using the sperm from one of the partners and the resulting embryos frozen for later transfer. The couple can use a known surrogate, if she is not a blood relative of the sperm donor, or use an agency to locate a surrogate. The embryo is transferred to the surrogate and she carries the pregnancy as normal.
Female couples – for females, testing will indicate if one or both partners is ovulating (releasing a mature egg) regularly and if there is a sufficient reserve of eggs. The couple can use a known donor, or be given a choice of sperm donor from the Bourn Hall sperm bank which is then reserved for treatment. There are a number of treatment options for same-sex couples and the couple should discuss this with their fertility consultant.
Single Women – single women will need a sperm donor which can be a known donor or chosen from the Bourn Hall sperm bank. Treatments could include IUI or IVF and our fertility consultants will advise what is the best option for you.
- Intrauterine injection (IUI) is less invasive than IVF. Mild medication is given to stimulate the ovaries to produce a mature egg and then the sperm is introduced high into the uterus. The success rates are lower than IVF and a number of treatments may be required.
- IVF – the ovaries are stimulated to produce many ripe eggs at the same time, which are collected, mixed with sperm in the lab and one resulting embryo is selected for treatment. The remainder are frozen for subsequent treatment if required. The embryo can be transferred to the womb of the same female or to her partner for shared motherhood.
Any child born from donated eggs or sperm has the right, at the age of 18, to access the identity of the donor.
Free counselling is available for patients at Bourn Hall. Although implications counselling is a requirement for using donor sperm or eggs, it can also help you to come to terms with your feelings if the parenting options are not aligned with your previous anticipations.
IUI or DIY?
In the video below Katie and Ali talk about their fertility journey. After three failed ‘DIY’ attempts the couple came to Bourn Hall, where tests revealed Katie had irregular ovulation (release of a mature egg). “I realised that there would have been no way that we would have ever have got pregnant using the home kits,” says Katie.