Surrogacy for Gay Men: What Is the IVF Process for Egg Donors & Surrogates?

Hatch Fertility

For intended parents who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, there are often additional roadblocks to consider when pursuing family-building. The following information will help outline the role of IVF for a male-male couple looking to build a family of their own.

Gay male couples have unique needs when embarking on the path to parenthood. When undergoing a surrogacy journey, they will need the following:

In this article, we cover the IVF journey for gay men, where to start, what to expect, and unique considerations.

Finding an IVF Doctor

Although certain factors, such as a clinic's success rate, should be evaluated when choosing a fertility clinic, LGBTQIA+ parents should also understand other aspects, such as the protocols and steps necessary to ensure a smooth and seamless IVF journey

Finding a doctor who cares about the intended parent's best interest, has great success rates, and has a repertoire of reviews will help eliminate the major challenges of an IVF journey. Finding an IVF doctor who is at the forefront of IVF advancements and technology will greatly assist in any journey.

The Process of Using an Egg Donor

Choosing an Egg Donor

Finding an egg donor is a big step when it comes to family-building. This process takes time and careful consideration. At Hatch, intended parents can access egg donors within the top 5% of candidates nationwide to make the search process as smooth as possible. Donor candidates are physician-reviewed to ensure medical suitability. When looking for an egg donor, some important criteria to consider are listed below:

  • Medical History and Mental Health
  • Physical Appearance
  • Education
  • Intelligence and Personality

On average, it can take about 3-6 months from choosing an egg donor to the creation of embryos. Once matched with an egg donor, she will complete her in-person medical screening appointment with the intended parent's IVF specialist. 

IVF and Egg Retrieval

When using donated eggs, the only difference from a traditional IVF cycle is that the donor undergoes the egg retrieval procedure instead of the intended parent.

When the selected donor starts treatment, it usually takes around two weeks counting from the start of medication used for ovarian stimulation to the egg retrieval procedure. The egg retrieval procedure is a 10-30 minute process of removing eggs from the ovaries, typically under general anesthesia. 

IVG and Embryo Creation 

Embryos are created at a fertility clinic via IVG (in vitro gametogenesis) using the intended parents' sperm (one or both) as well as an egg donor’s egg. Once the donor's eggs are retrieved, embryos will be fertilized on the egg retrieval date with the sperm samples provided by the intended parents. 

IVF and Genetic Testing

With today's medical advancements, we can better ensure a healthy, happy pregnancy by screening the embryos before going through the embryo transfer procedure. The fertilized embryo is cultured for five to six days until it reaches the blastocyst stage (made up of hundred cells). An embryologist removes a small number of cells to test from the pre-placenta area using a laser and a microscopic glass needle. Once testing is complete, a healthy embryo can be transferred into the surrogate’s uterus.

PGS testing (Preimplantation Genetic Screening) will ensure the fertility clinic is using the healthiest embryos. PGS testing helps the fertility clinic evaluate if the embryos are genetically normal or not. During this time, the clinic can also see what sex the embryos are, which is helpful if the intended parents are hoping for a certain sex in a child. PGS testing is highly recommended and can help avoid substantial disappointment.

The Process of Using a Surrogate

Selecting a Gestational Carrier

There are certain criteria on which intended parents should be matched with a gestational carrier:

  • Age and health history
  • Pregnancy and delivery history
  • Location of the gestational carrier
  • Level of desired communication with your surrogate during the journey

After being matched with a surrogate, the surrogate will complete an in-person medical screening process at the intended parent's IVF clinic. The screening process includes a physical/pelvic examination, an ultrasound examination of her uterus, a panel of blood tests including an infectious panel, and a urine drug screening.

Embryo Implantation

At the intended parent's fertility clinic, an embryo is implanted into a gestational carrier, who carries the baby to term. The embryo transfer procedure is one of the final stages of the IVF process. This is the procedure where the intended parent's fertility doctor places one embryo into a surrogate’s uterus to create a pregnancy. The exact timing of the transfer depends on where the body is in its cycle and the preparation of the uterine lining through medications. The success of the transfer depends on many factors, including but not limited to:

  • Age 
  • Quality of the embryo(s)
  • Uterine lining and health
Though this procedure will be an exciting new beginning for many, some intended parents may feel anxious about the next steps as they wait the required time before receiving a confirmed pregnancy test. This test will determine if the embryo has successfully implanted and resulted in pregnancy.  

Begin Your Family-Building Journey Today

At Hatch, we work with top IVF clinics all over the world in addition to our in-house IVF clinic, Pacific Fertility Center at Los Angeles (PFCLA). For over 30 years, people have been choosing the Pacific Fertility Center of Los Angeles--one of the leading fertility clinics in the world. PFCLA provides intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors guidance every step of the way. Egg donors and surrogates will go through comprehensive screenings at PFCLA to make sure that our intended parents achieve successful outcomes. Founded in 1993, PFCLA has participated in the birth of over 13,500 healthy babies around the world. Intended parents can always, however, choose to work with a different clinic of their choice – here at Hatch, we believe that this is your journey, and we’re here to make it the best one possible!

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