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Family Planning 101: Exploring Your Family Creation Options

Great—you’re thinking about starting a family. This simple guide will walk you through the basics of queer family planning…AND MORE!

Written by the LGBTQ+ community, we understand the struggles of starting a family more than anyone. While planning a family can be stressful for everyone, it’s especially difficult for the queer community.

We get it, but don’t worry. You’re not alone and you do have options.

So, if you’re looking to start a family in the next year or in five years, let’s take a look at the different family creation methods below.

Most Common Family Creation Methods

You’ve probably heard of a few of these family creation terms.

However, if you’re scratching your head wondering what IUI means, you should keep reading…


More commonly known as “artificial insemination” or “assisted insemination,” IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) is a specialized technique that delivers sperm directly into the uterus. 

IUI allows for better sperm delivery into the fallopian tube and is a standard treatment for mild and moderate fertility deficits.


IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) refers to the following impregnation process: 

  1. The first phase of IVF involves stimulating egg production via fertility medications.
  2. During the second phase, eggs are collected from the ovaries, then combined with sperm in a lab to create embryos, which will be preserved.
  3. In the final phase, an embryo will be transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier or intended parent to try and achieve pregnancy.


Surrogacy is when someone agrees to become pregnant through artificial insemination or IVF and intends to carry another person's embryo or eggs to term. 

The surrogate will give birth to the baby and relinquish the child to the intended parents.


One of the most common methods in family creation, adoption is the legal process in which an adoptive parent(s) is permanently given parental rights in welcoming a child into their home.

Common Family Creation Terms

We’ve given you quite a bit of info about several family planning options so far, but you will more than likely hear the following terms throughout the different processes.

Let’s understand each one:

  • Sperm donor. A sperm donor is someone who donates sperm to help other people create pregnancies. Sometimes their identities are known, while other times, they’re anonymous.
  • Egg donor. Like sperm donors, egg donors donate eggs to help create pregnancies for other people.
  • Intended parent. An intended parent is the person or people legally responsible for caring for and raising the child. This applies regardless of who gave birth to the child or if the intended parent(s) are genetically linked to the child.
  • Gestational carrier. This is a different term for a surrogate – someone who chooses to carry a pregnancy to term for another family. Not all kinds of surrogacy are legal in all 50 states, so consult with a legal professional if you think you may want to go this route.
  • Fertility preservation. Procedures like egg or sperm freezing allow individuals and families to extend their family-building timeline or preserve their options after gender confirmation treatment.

5 Questions About Starting a Family

1. Does my living situation impact my options?

If you plan to opt for surrogacy or a fertilization procedure involving a donor, be sure to research your state’s laws around parental rights. 

In some states, surrogates receive parental rights automatically, and those rights have to be legally terminated. Movement Advancement Project has a great interactive map to help you learn about your state’s parental recognition laws.

2. How will I pay for family planning? 

Most family planning options require a significant financial investment and determining how to pay for a specific treatment is part of the family planning process. 

Daylight’s banking app allows you to set up savings milestones so you can celebrate each time you reach a funding goal. 

As you explore your options, be sure to ask clinics about financial assistance and payment plans, and don’t hesitate to research organizations that offer financial resources for LGBTQ+ family building.

3. Which partner will be genetically related to the child? 

Depending on your situation and the way you choose to go about family building, this is a question you should discuss with your partner. 

Depending on your state’s marriage protections—and the state of politics around queer marriages in your state—it may be worth also consulting a lawyer on the best course of action.

4. Do I want an anonymous or known egg/sperm donor? 

There are benefits and drawbacks to both.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide the level of involvement you’d like the donor to have in your family planning process.

5. What elements of surrogacy or gestational carrier-ship am I responsible for?

Pregnancy and postpartum care can be costly. 

Understanding what you’ll pay for vs. what the surrogate or gestational carrier will pay for is the perfect reason to speak with one of our Family Life Coaches.