Building a Family: Fertility Options for All Types of Families - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on March 08, 2016

Building a Family: Fertility Options for All Types of Families

Media Contact:
Mary Wascavage
(610) 284-8619

Practice Contact:
HAN Fertility Center
(610) 853-1112

When singles, same-sex couples or fertility-challenged heterosexual couples are ready to start a family, they may assume adoption is their only option. However, there are several fertility options that can help them have a child that is genetically related to one or both of the intended parents.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

This type of artificial insemination consists of sperm being placed into a woman’s uterus while she’s ovulating. The sperm is washed and concentrated into a small volume and placed directly into the uterus around the time the ovary releases one or more eggs to be fertilized. The hoped-for outcome of this procedure is for the sperm to swim into the fallopian tube to fertilize a waiting egg.

This procedure can be coordinated with a woman’s normal cycle or with fertility medications. It can also be performed with donor sperm.

IUI is frequently the first line of fertility treatment in couples with unexplained infertility, mild male factor infertility, a cervical factor, irregular or absent ovulation, and for a couple or single woman using donor sperm.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

During IVF, mature eggs are collected from a woman’s ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg, now an embryo, is implanted into the uterus. In many cases, multiple fertilized eggs will be placed in the uterus in a single cycle to improve the chances that they will implant and turn into a pregnancy. This also increases the chances of becoming pregnant with multiples.

IVF is considered the most successful fertility treatment. It can be done using a couple’s own eggs and sperm, but it can also be performed with donor eggs, sperm or embryos. IVF is also often used for couples working with a gestational carrier.

Gestational or Surrogate Carriers

A gestational carrier, or a gestational surrogate, is a woman who carries a baby until birth. A gestational surrogate’s eggs aren’t used so she has no genetic ties to the baby. With a gestational carrier, the egg from the biological mother and sperm from the father are combined in a lab through in vitro fertilization. The embryo is then placed in the gestational carrier’s uterus. Couples or individuals can turn to a gestational carrier with their own eggs and sperm or with donor eggs and sperm.

A gestational carrier is an option for a couple in which the female partner can’t carry a pregnancy, due to either a hysterectomy or an intact uterus that may not be able to carry a pregnancy to term. It’s also a fertility option for same-sex male couples using a donor egg and one of the partner’s sperm.

A traditional surrogate is a woman who is artificially inseminated with the father’s sperm, carries the baby and delivers it for parents to raise it. She is the baby’s biological mother because she donated her egg to be fertilized with the father’s sperm.

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