Back Arrow
The Issues
Team Daylight

Family Planning 101: Your guide to LGBTQ+ family planning

Whether you’re planning to start or expand your family to include bringing a new child into the nest, family planning for LGBTQ+ people can be a daunting subject to research. After all, with so many options – from IVF and IUI to adoption and surrogacy – and so many possible financial and legal implications, it’s not hard to quickly feel overwhelmed.

That’s why we’ve put together this post: to give you the head start you need as you begin considering your options from a financial, legal, and emotional standpoint. We’ll cover some key terms you may hear as you research the right family planning options for you and go over some questions to consider as you weigh your options. That way, when it comes time to start your family, you feel prepared!

Common Family Planning Terms

You’ve probably heard of at least a few terms on this list, as many of them are becoming more common knowledge than in decades past. Don’t hesitate to bookmark this guide so you always have access to this resource!

IUI. This is a specialized technique that delivers sperm directly into the uterus. You might know this by a more general term like “artificial insemination” or “assisted insemination.” IUI allows for better sperm delivery into the fallopian tube and is a standard treatment for mild and moderate fertility deficits.

IVF. An abbreviation for in vitro fertilization, this refers to a series of procedures with the end goal of achieving a pregnancy. The first phase of IVF involves stimulating egg production via fertility medications. During the second phase, eggs are collected from the ovaries, then combined with sperm in a lab to create embryos, which are then preserved. In the final phase, an embryo can be transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier or intended parent to try and achieve pregnancy.

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.

Questions to ask when planning your family

There are many considerations unique to LGBTQ+ family building, and it’s important to understand your goals and account for those complexities in this case.

How will where I live 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.

How will I pay for family planning? Most family planning options require a significant financial investment, and determining how to pay for that 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.

Which partner will be genetically related to the child? Depending on your situation and the way you choose to go about family building, this may be a question with which you should be prepared to contend. 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.

Do I want an anonymous or known egg/sperm donor? There are benefits and drawbacks to both, and ultimately it’s up to you to decide the level of involvement you’d like the donor to have in your family planning process.

What elements of surrogacy or gestational carrier-ship will I be responsible for? Pregnancy and post-partum care are expensive, and understanding what you’ll pay for versus what the surrogate or gestational carrier will pay for is an important conversation to have upfront. 

At Daylight Grow, we believe the world needs more queer parents – and we help make that happen. Whether you know you want to start or add to your family through surrogacy or you’re still exploring your options, Daylight Grow is here to help through our family planning concierge, resource center, and community dedicated to supporting queer parents as they navigate the family-building process. Learn more and join today!