LGBTQ+ Fertility Options

Pregnancy Options for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Patients

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The fertility specialists at the Duke Fertility Center know that starting a family is a big step in your life. That's why we support you on every step of this journey. We help you create a personalized plan toward parenthood that is inclusive of your individual needs, whether you’re seeking a family as a couple or as an individual. We focus on fertility treatments that are right for you. A clinical psychologist is available for emotional and social support as you build a family.

Duke Fertility Center

Visit our location in Morrisville where we offer infertility testing, counseling, and treatment in a comfortable setting.

Beginning the Fertility Process

We support our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) patients in all aspects of your care. Before we start any treatments, we’ll first have a consultation to fully understand your health, priorities for family planning, and how our fertility specialists can tailor a care plan to meet these needs. This is our chance to learn about you, your medical history, and how we can be a part of your journey to build a family. This consultation can be held virtually as a telehealth appointment or in person. If you have an in-person appointment, you may have the option of having physical exams and blood drawn for testing that day.

If you are freezing eggs or sperm, research has shown that both can be frozen and safely preserved, so you’ll have them available whenever you’re ready.

Treating Infertility at the Duke Fertility Center

Fertility Tests and Evaluation

Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone who receives fertility treatments will undergo several exams and tests, including physical exams and genetic and infectious disease testing. We may schedule other evaluations like a pelvic exam, ultrasound, or hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This is a normal part of our care to make sure you're healthy. If you’re seeking an egg donation or sperm donor, our specialists can help you through the process. You can select a donor you don’t know (a de-identified or anonymous donor) or someone already a part of your life (a known donor).

Call for an Appointment

Lesbian and Gay Fertility Options

There are many ways to approach building your family, and we’ll review all your options with you. That may include using egg donation or sperm donors, surrogates, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

  • If you’re seeking a donor, our specialists will work with you according to your preferences for an anonymous or directed donation -- whether you prefer to receive eggs or sperm from someone you don’t know or have identified a donor who will be a part of your family planning.
  • If you are preparing for gender affirming medical treatment, we can assist you with freezing eggs or sperm that can then be used in the future for family building.

Transgender Pregnancies

Duke Health supports everyone who is undergoing or has completed a gender transition and would like to start or expand a family. We’ll support you and your reproductive potential with options that align with your internal identity. Our fertility experts strongly recommend that you explore pregnancy options before starting your gender transition because you’ll need to temporarily stop or delay use of exogenous hormones as part of the fertility process. If you’ve already begun your transition, we will talk to you about your options to pause medication as part of this process -- many of our transgender patients choose to freeze eggs or sperm.

Trans Woman (Male to Female Gender Transition)

If you have healthy sperm available, you have options that include freezing your sperm through cryopreservation for use at a later date. Your sample can be injected directly into a partner’s uterus with intrauterine insemination. We may also recommend in vitro fertilization, where we’ll fertilize eggs with your sperm before placing an embryo in the uterus of your partner or a surrogate (gestational carrier).

Trans Man (Female to Male Gender Transition)

Fertility preservation allows our team to freeze oocytes (unfertilized eggs) and/or embryos (fertilized eggs) using partner or donor sperm. This gives us options for pregnancy with in vitro fertilization using your own, partner, or donor eggs. We can safely transfer an embryo into your uterus, the uterus of your partner, or a surrogate. If you haven’t yet started your transition and had your ovaries removed, intrauterine insemination is an option using partner or donor sperm. You can begin your transition after your pregnancy.

LGBTQ+ Equality Leader

Duke University Hospital, Duke Regional Hospital, and Duke Raleigh Hospital, a campus of Duke University Hospital, are recognized as LGBTQ+ Healthcare Equality Leaders by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. This recognition is evidence of our commitment to eliminate discrimination and promote equality and standing with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ+) community in all aspects of care.

This page was medically reviewed on 06/17/2021