Fertility Treatment options for Same-Sex Couples & Single women wanting to start a family

With more and more options available for same sex couples or single women than ever before, starting a family may not be as difficult as you’d think.

At Reproductive Health Group, Professor Luciano Nardo and the team are proud to deliver the highest quality care and professional advice for every patient, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation.

We offer a comprehensive range of fertility investigations and treatments for female same-sex partners and single women. Our dedicated team has an in-depth understanding and will support you on your incredible journey to create your family.

So, what are the options available?

Donor Sperm Insemination

A popular option for single women or same sex couples is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) using donor sperm. This treatment allows women to become pregnant without having a male partner.

How does it work?

You will be able to choose the sperm donor from a list of available donors. We use three established UK based sperm banks, and donor sperm vials are transferred to our laboratory at Daresbury Park where the treatment will take place.

The donor sperm is then used for intrauterine insemination. During this procedure, the sperm is placed directly into the uterus via a small catheter that passes through the cervix.

IVF with Donor Sperm

In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF with donor sperm may be needed or chosen as part of your treatment for you and/or your partner.

How does it work?

You or your partner will go through an ovarian stimulation cycle to stimulate her ovaries for the follicles to grow and mature. When the follicles are the right size, an egg collection will take place and the eggs will be fertilised by in vitro fertilisation with either the donor sperm to create embryos.

The embryo transfer will then take place using the best quality embryo with the highest potential for pregnancy, and you do the pregnancy test two weeks later.

There may be more than one embryo created so you will have the option of storing any supernumerary embryos created for future use.

Partner/Reciprocal IVF/Shared Motherhood

Shared motherhood allows for both partners to be involved in the treatment process and for you both to have a biological or gestational link to your child or children. You will both be the legal parents of your child or children when going through shared motherhood.

In this case you may ‘donate’ your eggs allowing for your partner to carry the baby and give birth, or vice-versa.

If you are considering shared motherhood, then you will both be required to undergo some routine screening and investigations. We would also be able to recommend a family law firm with whom you can discuss any legal parenthood questions you may have.

How does it work?

One partner will be the egg provider and the other will be the egg recipient. The egg provider will go through a stimulation cycle to stimulate the ovaries for the follicles to grow and mature. When the follicles are the right size, the egg collection will take place and the eggs will be fertilised by in vitro fertilisation with either the sperm of a known or unknown donor to create embryos.

The egg recipient will then undergo the embryo transfer, either in a natural cycle or with some medication to ensure the lining of the womb is at its best for implantation to take place. The embryo transfer can be carried out as fresh or frozen.

IVF treatment with donor eggs & sperm

It is not uncommon for some same sex couples or single women to find themselves needing “double donors”, which is simply having a baby using both sperm and egg donor.

This may be the case for an older woman who wants to try for a baby, or perhaps if there are underlying fertility issues such as early onset menopause or the ovaries have been removed surgically for a medical reason. In this case an egg donor may provide a better chance of successful pregnancy.

Choosing your sperm and/or egg donors

Whenever choosing a sperm donor for IVF, you may wish for the donor to have specific physical and personality traits. At RHG our dedicated clinical team can support you through the process of selecting the most appropriate donor. You can have peace of mind knowing that the requirements for donating sperm have all been safely met. These include successfully completing specific health and screening checks during and after the donation process.

If you require an egg donor for IVF, you can rest assured that all of our donor eggs are from young, healthy donors who have been fully screened, counselled and are of proven fertility. They are required to provide a full medical history for themselves and their family to safeguard you and/or your baby from any potential hereditary and/or medical conditions. Many women like their egg donor to resemble themselves and can specify any characteristics they would like the donors to have – from ethnicity and general appearance to hobbies, profession and level of education.

Get started today

At RHG, we have no waiting list for consultations with our fertility specialists, so if you are a single woman, or same-sex-couple looking for fertility treatment, contact our friendly patient services team and begin your fertility journey today.

Patient story

Watch former patient Jen talk about the ‘care factor’ that she and her wife Karen experienced during their treatment at RHG that led to the birth of their two children. She also explains her reasons for constantly recommending us to her friends.