LGBT Family Building

The Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Center at Washington University provides advanced reproductive assistance in an environment that is supportive and comfortable for all patients wishing to build a family.

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the main adult hospital affiliate for Washington University Physicians, is recognized as a top performer in LGBT healthcare equality by the Human Rights Campaign.

We welcome gay and lesbian patients and trans men and trans women and are proud to help members of the LGBT community become parents.

Options for women

Lesbian couples have two fertilization options – intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization – and can choose to use sperm from an anonymous or a known donor. We have an extensive network of sperm banks that we work with and can refer you to a reputable sperm bank that fits your needs.

Furthermore, we are well versed in the FDA guidelines regulating tissue donation and we adhere to these rules.

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Also known as artificial insemination, this procedure places donor sperm directly into a woman’s uterus.

In vitro fertilization (IVF)
With this procedure, eggs are surgically retrieved from a woman’s ovaries and combined with sperm in our laboratory, where fertilization occurs. The best embryo(s) are selected and returned to the woman’s uterus via the cervix within days. This technique is used when medically necessary to achieve pregnancy, or in instances when a couple chooses to have one partner donate the egg and the other partner carry the pregnancy.

Options for men

Gay couples can achieve pregnancy with the use of donor eggs, the sperm of one partner (or a combination of both partners) and a gestational carrier (surrogate).

Using in vitro fertilization, donor eggs are fertilized with the sperm, and the embryos are then transferred into a gestational surrogate to carry the pregnancy. Couples must have their own gestational carrier identified as we do not provide gestational carrier volunteers.

Fertility preservation for transgender patients

Both trans women and trans men have an opportunity to undergo fertility preservation prior to their transition. Those interested in family building options for the future are encouraged to seek consultation with one of our providers to discuss options.