If the only hurdle that stands between you and the family of your dreams is biology, the hurdle is relatively easy to overcome, especially with the right team by your side.
Here at the California Center for Reproductive Health, our reproductive experts help people of all orientations achieve their family-building dreams, including lesbian couples and single women. If you’d like to embark on motherhood, here’s a look at your reproductive options.
In many respects, single women and lesbian couples have a far easier path to motherhood than gay couples or single men thanks to simple biological logistics. As the producer of the eggs and incubators of life, women have only one thing standing between them and motherhood: fertilization.
The key to this is sperm, and we have several ways to slide this missing piece of the puzzle into place. One of the easiest and most popular methods we offer is artificial insemination with donor sperm. We begin by evaluating your reproductive health, including your ovaries, your uterus, and your fallopian tubes, to ensure that everything is functioning properly.
Once we give you the green light, we point you in the right direction for finding the right sperm from a licensed sperm bank. Qualified banks offer several layers of protection, including mandatory testing for certain infectious and genetic diseases. From there, you’re able to screen for any number of attributes, including:
You can even learn a little bit about the anonymous donor’s education, profession, and hobbies.
Once you settle on a choice, you purchase the frozen sperm, and we store it here at our center until the time is right for insemination. You may opt to do this according to your natural menstrual cycle, or we can administer ovulation-enhancing medications to increase your chances of success.
The insemination itself is quick and painless, often accomplished in minutes, and all you have to do is wait.
Many lesbian couples and single women who come to us have a specific donor in mind. Since the direct donor’s sperm hasn’t undergone the rigorous screening that a sperm bank offers, we’ll need to perform that service, which takes a little time.
First, we collect a sample of your donor’s sperm to have it tested for infectious diseases. Then we need to wait six months to retest your donor, as many infections have longer incubation periods. Should both tests come back negative, we’re free to begin the insemination process.
If you’re not keen on waiting six months, there’s an alternative for directed sperm donation in which we screen your sperm donor within a week of each insemination.
If you know you want to have children down the road, but you’re not quite ready, we offer several services that can improve your chances of building the family of your dreams in the future. This is especially useful if you’re looking to put off motherhood until you’re in your mid-to-late 30s or 40s because your eggs become increasingly less viable as you age.
To have access to your healthiest eggs, many women freeze them in a process called oocyte cryopreservation. To harvest your eggs, we stimulate your ovaries with hormone injections and then collect as many as eggs as you’d like. We then freeze and store the eggs for future use.
If you’ve found the sperm donor you want, but you’re still not ready for motherhood, we can also freeze your embryos. You go through the same egg collection process we described above, except we fertilize your eggs with the cleared sperm before we freeze them.
In both cases, when you’re ready for your journey to motherhood, we thaw the eggs or embryos, prep your body, (fertilize the egg, if necessary), and implant the embryo(s) into your uterus.
For single women and lesbian couples, the road to motherhood requires a few extra steps, but we’ll help you navigate them with ease. Simply give our Greater Los Angeles or West Hollywood, California, offices a call or use the online scheduling tool to set up a consultation.