Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community no longer means that one must forgo the reality of family building. Increasing availability of fertility services are making it possible to build a family in a variety of ways! This is also highly true or those seeking to become a single parent by choice. Like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states, I believe that “No matter how a child comes into a family, all children and parents deserve equitable protections and access to available resources to maximize the health of that family unit.”
This topic is becoming more widely discussed, but it still is not the primary focus of many reproductive discussions. I recently sat down with Dr. Sarah Mucowski of Dallas IVF to talk in depth about gay, lesbian and transgender family building, as well as single parents by choice.
The path to parenthood does not always look one way, nor is it always straightforward. In my own journey, I went through several rounds of IVF before finally conceiving my twins via egg donor. As Resolve.org, a non-profit that exists to reduce barriers to family building, says, “One of the hardest steps is determining which option will work best for you and/or your partner.” Options include IUI, donor egg and/or sperm options, reciprocal IVF, IVF, surrogacy, and adoption/foster care.
No matter the unique differences of what the family unit looks like, those who want to build a family should have equal access to whatever option they choose, including those in the LGBTQIA community. A large part of this simply means having access to information and education. Dr. Mark Leondires, founded Gay Parents To Be® as informational resource and a starting point for LGBTQ parenting. On his own family building journey, he learned first hand how challenging it can be for LGBTQ parents-to-be to have a baby.
Here are two wonderful resources I highly recommend to help you with maintaining your mental health during the process:
Aluma is mental wellness and self-discovery program with immersive audio. New issues every 3 months for less than the cost of a therapy session. You will get a beautiful, themed workbook with 45 unique activities, and general mental health information from a board-certified perinatal psychiatrist!
Have you experienced fertility/pregnancy/birth trauma and/or traumatic loss(es)? Are you motivated to implement new body-based strategies designed to help you release trauma? Learn more about the Healing Hearts program by Parijat Deshpande!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
Check out the products for TTC through parenthood in the Babies After 35 Amazon shop, online courses and other services that come "Dr. Clark-approved"!Check out my favorite things