Gay Men and Fertility: How to Get Started

by | Sep 16, 2022 | LGBTQIA+

First steps for gay male couples to have biological kids 

If you’ve been looking into the options for gay men and fertility, the process can seem overwhelming. While there are some extra considerations for male couples who want biological kids, your path can be divided into manageable steps. With that in mind, here’s a checklist on how to get started.

Step 1: Speak With Your Fertility Specialist

The first step for anyone seeking fertility treatment is an initial consultation with a specialist. You’ll discuss your fertility goals and your medical and family history. Based on your discussion, your fertility specialist will recommend certain tests to get a full fertility picture.

Step 2: Get a Fertility Assessment

The next step is a comprehensive fertility assessment. For gay men, this mostly involves semen analysis, in addition to your medical and family history. Your fertility clinic may also ask for a general physical exam or other tests. After you complete the testing, your fertility team will discuss your results and review your options with you. Depending on your test results, your specialist may offer recommendations for your fertility plan – for example, one partner may have healthier or more viable sperm.

Step 3: Decide Whose Sperm to Use

Gay men use donor eggs and a gestational carrier (or “surrogate”) to have biological children. The donor eggs are fertilized with sperm from one or both partners, and then one embryo is transferred to the carrier to achieve pregnancy.

Before moving forward with choosing a donor and gestational carrier, you and your partner should decide whether one or both of you will provide the sperm to create embryos. You can consider several different factors in this decision. Family medical history, sperm health, and desire to have a biological child can all have an impact.

Why Can’t We Just Mix Our Sperm?
Only one sperm fertilizes each egg. Mixing sperm together from both partners doesn’t mix the DNA together, and can lower the effectiveness of the IVF fertilization process.

If both of you would like to contribute sperm, we offer split insemination, where half of the retrieved donor eggs are fertilized with one partner’s sperm, and the other half with the other partner’s sperm. These embryos are labeled, kept separate, and frozen until you are ready to thaw one to transfer to your gestational carrier. The remaining embryos can be stored and used in the future to try for siblings.

Step 4: Figure Out a Financial Plan

Fertility for gay men requires a significant financial investment. Between egg donors, surrogates, IVF costs, and insurance, total expenses can be upwards of $200,000.

You don’t need to have your entire fertility budget sitting in your bank account before starting the process. However, it’s helpful to have a plan for how you will pay for treatment. This can be a combination of fertility grants, loans, crowdfunding, and savings. There are fertility grants specifically for gay men, like the Gay Parenting Assistance Program. Our financial counselors can provide you with additional resources and strategies to help afford your fertility journey.

Next Steps: Choosing Your Egg Donor and Gestational Carrier

Once you have the logistical and medical decisions taken care of, you can start looking at egg donors and gestational carriers. These are very personal decisions, and there are a lot of factors to consider. We are happy to provide guidance and resources to help with your process.

But before all that, the first step to having children as gay men is to schedule an initial fertility consultation and assessment. We offer free consultations for gay men who want to learn more about fatherhood through donor eggs and a gestational carrier. Email us at pride@pnwfertility.com to schedule your free consultation today.