LGBTQ+ Family Planning Terms You Should Know

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The language surrounding LGBTQ+ family planning can seem overwhelming and complex. With numerous medical terms and acronyms, it's easy to feel uncertain about your options and next steps in building your family.

While you may have encountered some of these terms before, their specific definitions can hold crucial details. Don’t forget to save this guide so you’ll always be ready for a quick brush-up when needed. Maybe even sneak a little peek on your phone in the waiting room before a doctor’s appointment so you feel more prepared and empowered!

Reproductive Endocrinologist

A Reproductive Endocrinologist is a special type of doctor who helps people with their dreams of starting or expanding their families. They specialise in understanding the way our bodies work when it comes to making babies. 

These experts are like fertility superheroes! 

They can help diagnose and treat various fertility issues, such as hormone imbalances, egg or sperm quality problems, or difficulties getting pregnant. Whether you're looking to conceive naturally or considering assisted reproductive technologies like IVF or fertility medications, a Reproductive Endocrinologist is there to guide you, offer support, and help make your baby dreams come true.

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IUI

IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination, which is a technique used to increase the chances of getting pregnant. It's a bit like a helping hand for sperm to reach the egg easier! 

During IUI, carefully prepared sperm is placed directly into the uterus using a thin tube. This way, the sperm has a shorter journey to meet the egg, which can improve the chances of fertilization. It's a simple and relatively painless procedure that can be done in a doctor's office. 

IUI is often recommended for couples facing certain fertility challenges or those using donor sperm. IUI brings together a powerful trio: improved delivery of sperm, precise targets for the sperm to reach, and optimal timing for fertilization. By combining these elements, IUI offers a triple-threat approach to boost the chances of pregnancy success.

IVF

IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, is like a magical baby-making process! 

It's a special technique to help people have a baby when natural conception is challenging. During IVF, eggs and sperm are carefully collected. Then, in a laboratory, these little miracles are brought together to create embryos.

After a few days of growing and developing, the healthiest embryos are chosen and carefully transferred into the woman's uterus. It's like planting tiny seeds! 

If everything goes well, one of these embryos may implant in the uterus, leading to a successful pregnancy. 

IVF typically happens in three stages:

  1. Stimulation and Egg Retrieval: Medications stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Your progress is monitored and mature eggs are collected through a quick and painless procedure.
  2. Fertilization and Embryo Development: Collected eggs are combined with carefully selected sperm in an incubator. Doctors will monitor embryo growth and select the healthiest ones for the next step.
  3. Embryo Transfer and Pregnancy: Chosen embryos are gently transferred into your uterus. After two weeks, doctors will perform a pregnancy test to check for successful implantation.

Reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF is a great option for same-sex female couples who both want to be involved in the pregnancy journey. It allows one partner to contribute their eggs, while the other partner carries the pregnancy.

The partner who will be providing the eggs undergoes the first part of the IVF process. This involves stimulating their ovaries to produce multiple eggs and retrieving them through a quick and painless procedure. The collected eggs are then fertilized with donor sperm or sperm from a known donor.

Once the embryos are formed, it's time for the second part of the process. The partner who will carry the pregnancy receives the carefully selected embryos through a gentle transfer into their uterus. If everything goes well, one of these embryos will implant, leading to a pregnancy.

Reciprocal IVF allows both partners to actively participate in the creation of their baby, sharing the biological connection and the experience of carrying the pregnancy..

PGT-A

PGT-A, or Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy, is like a genetic superpower for IVF! It helps ensure the healthiest embryos are selected for transfer. 

During PGT-A, a few cells are gently taken from the embryos and examined to check for any chromosomal abnormalities. These abnormalities can sometimes lead to failed implantation or genetic conditions. 

By identifying the chromosomally normal embryos, the chances of a successful pregnancy are increased. PGT-A gives you valuable information about the embryos' genetic makeup, helping you make informed decisions and improving the likelihood of a healthy baby. 

It's like having an extra set of eyes to ensure your little one starts off on the right genetic foot!

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PGT-M

PGT-M, or Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic Disorders, is a tool that helps prevent certain genetic conditions from being passed on to your baby. 

It's perfect for couples who have a known genetic condition in their family and want to ensure a healthy start for their little ones. 

PGT-M involves examining embryos created through IVF to check for specific genetic mutations or disorders. By identifying the embryos free from these conditions, the chances of a healthy pregnancy are increased and the risk of passing on the genetic condition is reduced. PGT-M empowers you to make informed decisions and gives you peace of mind on your journey to creating a healthy and happy family.

Sperm Donor

A sperm donor is someone who provides sperm to help individuals or couples conceive a baby. Sometimes, for various reasons, individuals may need assistance in starting or expanding their family. That's where a sperm donor comes in! 

These incredible individuals selflessly donate their sperm, which is carefully screened and tested to ensure its quality and safety. The donated sperm can be used in assisted reproductive techniques, such as insemination or IVF, to fertilize an egg and create a pregnancy. Sperm donors play a significant role in helping people fulfil their dreams of becoming parents and are a vital part of the journey to building a loving family.

Egg Donor

An egg donor is a person who selflessly offers their eggs to help individuals or couples achieve their dream of having a baby. 

These donors go through a careful screening process to ensure their eggs are healthy and suitable for donation. The donated eggs can be used in assisted reproductive techniques, like IVF, where they are fertilized with sperm to create embryos.

Intended Parent

An intended parent is an individual or couple who wants to become a parent.

They may face various circumstances that make conceiving a baby challenging on their own, such as infertility, same-sex partnerships, or medical conditions.

Intended parents may choose assisted reproductive techniques like IVF or surrogacy to fulfil their dreams. Intended parents demonstrate immense courage and resilience, showing that love knows no boundaries when it comes to building a family.

Surrogate

A traditional surrogate is a person who offers to carry a pregnancy for someone else. Unlike gestational surrogates, traditional surrogates use their own eggs, making them biologically connected to the child they carry. 

Traditional surrogacy can be a beautiful option for individuals or couples who may not have viable eggs or want a genetic connection.

Gestational Carrier

A gestational surrogate is a person who carries someone else’s pregnancy, but unlike traditional surrogacy, they do not use their own eggs.

Instead, an embryo created through in vitro fertilization (IVF) using the intended parent's or a donor's egg and sperm is transferred into the surrogate's uterus. The gestational surrogate provides a nurturing environment for the embryo to grow and develop into a baby.

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