LGBTQ+ Paths to Pregnancy

For LGBTQ+ folks looking to welcome a child into their family through a biological connection with one or more of the parents, there are many paths available at a wide range of costs, complexities, and involvement. Family Equality has many valuable resources to help you on your path to pregnancy!  


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Terms to Know

As you navigate the many potential paths to pregnancy, you’ll unlock a whole new vocabulary! From medical procedures to eccentric acronyms, here’s a handy list of all the key terms you need to know at this stage in your journey. 

Any treatment or procedure that involves handling eggs or embryos to help achieve pregnancy. 

A person who donates sperm or egg to help another person become pregnant.

Also called artificial insemination, this is the process through which donated sperm is placed inside a vagina or uterus with the intention of achieving pregnancy. 

People who are biologically related to one another by having the same sperm or egg donor. 

A person who carries a pregnancy for an intended parent or parents and who has no genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of the pregnancy.

A procedure that involves removing eggs from an individual’s ovaries and fertilizing them outside of the body with sperm in a laboratory dish. The resulting embryos are then transferred into a uterus through the cervix. IVF can also be utilized in conjunction with donor eggs or donor embryos.

A procedure that involves placing sperm via a tube directly into an individual’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The sperm can come from a partner or a donor and is performed in a doctor’s office.

The non-surgical, minimally invasive process of placing sperm directly into the vagina. This method can often be done at home without medical providers.

A sperm or egg donor whose identity is known to the individuals who were created with the donor’s genetic material.

A series of medical procedures in which eggs are harvested from one person’s ovaries, inseminated outside of the body, and transferred to another person’s uterus. 

An individual who carries a pregnancy for an intended parent or parents achieved by using the surrogate’s egg and a donor or the intended parent’s sperm. Traditional surrogates have a genetic link to the baby or babies born as a result of the pregnancy.

Similar to “anonymous donor,” this describes a person who donated sperm or eggs with the intention of not being known or easily identified. The word “unknown” has recently replaced “anonymous,” as genetic testing is now so commonplace that no donor can be guaranteed true anonymity.

Choosing a path to pregnancy

The path your family takes to achieve pregnancy will depend on several factors, including, but not limited to, cost, access to various reproductive “ingredients,” personal preferences, and more. The three most common tracks for LGBTQ+ people conceiving and growing babies are insemination, assisted reproduction, and surrogacy. For transgender people considering starting or expanding their families, there are extra considerations around hormones and fertility preservation processes. Explore the following resources to make more informed decisions about your next steps: 

Finding an LGBTQ+ affirming provider

We understand that one of the biggest barriers to LGBTQ+ pregnancy is finding affirming providers who are equipped to care for our community with the sensitivity, expertise, and excellence we deserve. 

To aid you on your search, explore our directory of LGBTQ+ friendly family-building providers, including fertility clinics, cryobanks, midwives, doulas, surrogacy clinics, and more. 

Securing legal parentage

In addition to navigating the medical details of growing your family through pregnancy, there are legal steps you need to take to protect your family, including establishing legal parentage, navigating birth certificates and passports, and more.

Family Equality highly encourages you to discuss these matters with an experienced and reputable LGBTQ+ family law attorney in your state. If you’re looking for an attorney near you, visit the LGBTQ+ Bar Association’s interactive map and directory of family law attorneys.

Looking for support on your fertility journey?

Family Equality hosts a virtual peer group every other Wednesday for any and all LGBTQ+ folks trying to conceive! Register today to receive log-in information.