Fertility Associates offers support and treatment options for LGBTTQI+ couples and individuals hoping to start a family.
Many LGBTTQI+ couples and individuals use reproductive technology to help achieve their dream of having a baby. There are many ways Fertility Associates can help LGBTTQI+ families, from fertility preservation of gametes, through to the use of sperm donors, egg donors and surrogacy. We also provide assistance with working within the legal framework that is associated with treatments such as gamete donation and surrogacy.
About 10% of all fertility treatments performed involve donor gametes, donor embryos or surrogacy. Technically, donor treatment is IUI or IVF using somebody else’s sperm, eggs or embryos – but there are important social, ethical and legal aspects involved in using donor gametes or a surrogate.
Same-sex female couples
- In conjunction with their fertility specialist, same-sex female couples will decide on the most suitable treatment – either inseminations or IVF.
- If both women wish to carry a child, or if one wants to provide the egg for the partner to carry the pregnancy, this can be discussed during an initial consultation.
- Counselling is mandatory when donor gametes are involved, and during these sessions the use of a personal donor or a clinic donor will be explored. The counselling also covers legal aspects and topics such as telling the child and significant others.
Same-sex male couples
- Recent advances in LGBTTQI+ fertility treatment options and updates in legislation now allow male same sex couples to biologically build their families.
- At Fertility Associates we can help couples to become parents through egg donation and surrogacy.
- Counselling is required when donor gametes are involved, and during these sessions the use of a personal donor or a clinic donor will be explored.
- As for any surrogacy arrangement, individual and joint counselling with the surrogate and partner (if she has one) is mandatory. The counselling will also guide all parties through the legal aspects and topics such as telling the child and significant others.
Donor eggs are used during IVF with surrogacy, with the egg donor undertaking the first part of the cycle, and a resultant embryo being transferred into a ‘gestational surrogate’. In IUI surrogacy, or ‘traditional surrogacy’, the surrogate becomes the egg donor as well. It is preferable to have a gestational surrogacy arrangement.
- Donor eggs may be provided by a family member or friend; alternatively, we can help with recruiting a donor – advertisements are managed by our clinic, and once a donor is chosen by you we’ll screen and prepare the donor for treatment.
- A woman’s age is the most important factor determining the quality and quantity of her eggs – you can read about this in more detail on our ‘How age affects fertility’ page.
- To find out more about how the Egg Donor Cycle works please view our Pathways booklet here.
- You can also read our becoming an egg donor section here - and see our donor video. If you are looking for a donor - you can also share this video through social media with your reference name attached.
- We do also have more Egg Donors available at our Malaysian clinic here.
- All surrogacy in New Zealand requires approval by ECART, obtaining legal advice, and prior arrangements for adoption following the birth of the child.
- In New Zealand all surrogacy is altruistic, and it’s mandatory that the commissioning individual or couple have an established relationship with their surrogate.
- Surrogacy is a complex and lengthy process, and on average takes around two years. Fertility Associates has extensive experience helping people consider their options, and through the legal framework that is associated with treatments such as surrogacy.
- Our Pathways to Child magazine has comprehensive information regarding the surrogacy process including the steps involved, legal and ethical considerations, and a typical timeline for an ECART application. Click on the links below or get in touch with one of our clinics to request a hardcopy. To find out more about how Surrogacy works you can view our Pathways booklet here.
Fertility Associates can help transgender men and women seek care and advise on their fertility before, during, and after transitioning. Sperm and eggs can be frozen before commencing gender-affirming hormone treatment (GAHT) or surgery, we have a new brochure on preserving fertility for Transgender or Non Binary patients. Here.
The options for reproduction will vary depending on the individual situation. There may be the possibility of discontinuing hormone treatment for a while and using your own gametes, or building your family may require egg or sperm donation, or a gestational surrogate.
Whether as a couple, or an individual, and regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone has different fertility needs so talking to one of our specialists is the best place to start. Please read our latest info sheet here to learn more about the options.
Fertility Associates has excellent success rates
The Australian Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC) suggests clinics present results as birth rates per embryo transfer to allow easier comparison between clinics.
Here are our most recent results for a single IVF egg collection cycle. It covers all women using their own eggs who have an egg collection, including those who did not get any eggs, those whose eggs didn’t fertilise, those who do not have an embryo suitable for transfer, and those whose pregnancy sadly miscarried.
The figure above is based on all egg collections at Fertility Associates clinics over the last three years for which we have complete birth results (2018-2020). These results cover IVF cycles with normal fertilisation and sperm microinjection. We transfer fresh embryos at the cleavage or blastocyst stage, while thawed embryos are nearly always transferred at the blastocyst stage. About 10% of cycles started do not get to egg collection. For most of these people, it is better to stop, and start again with a higher dose of the medications used for ovarian stimulation.
For women in same sex relationships wanting to conceive with donor sperm:
IVF depends on well-controlled conditions to give eggs and sperm the highest chance of getting together to create a pregnancy. More
As the name suggests, intra uterine insemination involves preparing sperm in the lab, then putting the best sperm directly into the uterus in a procedure that’s a bit like having a cervical smear. More
Things to know:
- You can choose either IVF or IUI with donor sperm, however with IVF the pregnancy rates are higher.
- With IUI you are receiving a lower technology fertility treatment, therefore the cost is less than an IVF cycle.
- For women aged over 40 years old we do recommend IVF, to give the best possible chance.
Accessing a sperm donor
There are two types of sperm donors at Fertility Associates, a personal donor, or a clinic recruited donor. A personal donor is a family member or a friend, that you may have asked before seeking treatment. A clinic donor is recruited by the clinic through advertising across the country.
The fastest option to starting treatment is through a personal donor, as we do have a waiting list to access clinic donors.
It is also important to understand the legalities involved which include the Status of Children Act and the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004. Fertility clinics can also only store sperm for 10 years as part of the HART Act. Find more helpful information below.
Good to know for same-sex couples:
- You can both reserve sperm from the same sperm donor, if available.
- If you want to provide an egg for your partner this is not classified as egg donation, therefore the preparation of egg donor does not apply, in the fees sheet.
- If one person carries the embryo that has been created by the other person, this is not classified as surrogacy, therefore does not require an ethics application.
Risks involved when finding a sperm donor online
If you find a sperm donor online, we recommend having your treatment through a licensed clinic. This will protect your health, safety, and legal rights, and provide thorough consideration of the needs of everyone involved. Importantly this includes the long-term outcomes for children born through donation. ANZICA (Australian & NZ Infertility Counsellors Association) have put together this info sheet about the risks involved and what to consider - here.
If you choose a personal donor, we will let the donor decide how fast he wants to progress through the various preparation steps.
We encourage personal donors to share information, including medical.
Independently of the clinic and during the process your personal donor may choose to donate to others families – we recommend you discuss this prior to treatment to reduce any misunderstanding.
We also encourage the use of ICSI with IVF cycles using a personal donor, based on our results of achieving fertilisation and pregnancy.
All clinic donors meet the World Health Organisation criteria for having ‘normal semen’. However, some men’s sperm survives the freezing and thawing process better than others, which means some donors are suitable for IUI, while some will require IVF treatment. If you choose IVF cycle we will use ICSI as this helps the chance of fertilisation and pregnancy. This cost is built in to the fees.
If you don’t have a personal donor you can join the waiting list for a clinic donor. We will talk you through the wait time and keep you updated.
We do have a waiting list for clinic donors which varies depending on the amount of donors and their restrictions. Each donor can restrict their donation based on relationship status, and ethnicity is also a consideration for both donor and recipients.
Good to know:
- You will be provided profiles of suitable donors, we will then reserve the sperm for you.
- You don’t own the sperm – but it is reserved for you until you achieve a pregnancy or it is used up.
The best thing you can do is talk to us.
There are many options for same sex couples, the best thing you can do to understand your options - is to book an appointment with our fertility specialists. You don’t need a referral but if you prefer your GP can also refer you.
Age, weight, general health and past medical conditions can all impact fertility. The sooner you understand your own chances, the better your chances with fertility treatment.
At your first appointment you will meet your doctor, they will go through your medical history, answer any questions you may have and undertake necessary tests and scans. They can also talk to you about accessing a donor and the waiting time involved.
Whatever your situation may be our team of fertility specialists are here to help – and if you have any questions along the way we also have a great resource with our Pathways booklet. That outlines every step of fertility treatment involving a donor.
Support every step of the way
Our counsellors are trained in fertility and can help with any difficult emotions or decisions that can arise when accessing a donor. Counselling before donor treatment is required for both donors and recipients.
Diet can impact pregnancy, and for many of our patients loosing weight can be a priority. At Fertility Associates we have an in-house Dietician, Alice who can help you create a diet plan to suit your fertility needs.
We have a range of relaxation activities available, and can provide a treatment plan to include acupuncture.