Vitalab is proud to help gay and lesbian couples build their families with the assistance of fertility treatment, and have been doing this for many years. Our caring and supportive medical staff are committed to offering all of our patients the best chance of having a baby, regardless of their marital status and sexual orientation. We understand that fertility options and issues facing single, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+) couples may be quite different from those available to other families. We have created a comprehensive fertility program that encompasses the financial, legal and emotional obstacles that are faced. We will assist in selecting an egg or sperm donor, co-ordinate the egg donation process and evaluated the gestational carrier if needed.
All initial consultations at Vitalab are all similar: you will meet with one of our doctors and discuss your medical history, what testing needs to be done, potential treatment plans and financial options. The next step will be diagnostic testing to discover the level of fertility in either partner. Once all the testing is complete, the doctor will develop a treatment plan and you may begin.
A same-sex male couple will meet with the doctor to discuss the details of using an egg donor and gestational carrier (surrogate). The partner wishing to use his sperm or both partners will undergo a semen analysis to test motility (movement), volume, concentration and morphology (shape) of the sperm.
Vitalab does not recruit gestational carriers, but will refer you to an attorney who will guide you through the legal side. Once a gestational carrier has been identified, undergone medical and psychological screening, and legal contracts are in place, you may select an egg donor. Most of our patients find an egg donor through VEDA – Vitalab’s Egg Donation Agency – but we also work with outside agencies.
Once the eggs are retrieved from the donor, you and/or your partner will provide sperm. With the use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF), or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) the eggs and sperm are combined, resulting in embryos. These embryos are then transferred back into the gestational carrier to carry the pregnancy.
A same-sex female couple has three decisions to make: who will carry the pregnancy, how will they go about choosing a sperm donor and whose eggs will they be using or if they would like a combination of both. The partner carrying the pregnancy will undergo a full fertility work-up to assess her suitability.
Vitalab Cryobank South Africa (VCSA – www.vcsa.net.za) is a highly experienced and specialised sperm bank within Vitalab that offers patients the opportunity to select sperm donors which have been sourced from international sperm banks adhering to high standards and offering great benefits for our patients.
At Vitalab, we refer patients to local cryobanks (where donor sperm is stored), because the process is simple and less expensive than using those in different countries. Should you wish to use a cryobank in another country, we can certainly assist in that process too. The chosen donor sperm is purchased in vials, which can be stored and thawed as required. Our andrologist will thaw and analyse the sperm. From there, you will undergo an intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilisation cycle using the donated sperm.