Coming Out as Intended Parents
For decades, the LGBT Family Building Program at Long Island IVF has been helping Long Island’s LGBT Community to become parents.
Through our partnership with The LGBT Network, Long Island IVF works to reach out and educate the community on the many family-building options available and are pleased to report that our joint event, “Building Families in the LGBT Community” was well-attended in October.
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the meeting was held during the same month we celebrate National Coming Out Day.
It wasn’t that long ago that coming out as LGBT was something the majority of people were afraid to do, not just publicly, but even to the closest family and friends. Many individuals are still not comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation to anyone or to select groups, such as their neighbors or employers. In many ways, society has come so far in that enough people have come forward, on National Coming Out Day or when they so choose, that there is now a highly-visible, public LGBT community.
The adage that there is strength in numbers has served the LGBT community very well over the decades as the push for equal rights has resulted in civil liberties that the community was previously denied, including marriage and recently access, albeit restricted, to insurance coverage in limited cases for certain fertility treatments.
Recently, there was another first-in-the-world case of LGBT fertility news where a lesbian couple both carried the same embryo in their bodies, which eventually resulted in the birth of their newborn. Reportedly, one woman underwent an egg retrieval after which one of her eggs was encapsulated with donor sperm and placed to incubate in her vagina for several days in the hope fertilization would occur. Thereafter, the encapsulated embryo was removed and frozen (cryopreserved). Then, the embryo was later thawed and transferred into the uterus of the other partner who carried the pregnancy to term. This first-time landmark case made national headlines.
But these welcome medical advancements come during turbulent times where hate and discrimination against many groups, including the LGBT community, is evident in some states. Is it two-steps forward, one-step back?
Becoming a parent adds a very noticeable, new human being into your family dynamic, one whose existence cannot and should not be hidden. Making the decision to expand your family may be unexpectedly triggering to those who may have, consciously or subconsciously, claimed to have accepted your sexual identity reveal with the assumption that you would not be having biological children. So, we can celebrate the advancements of rights for the LGBT community, but another facet of difficulty the community faces is the readiness to claim its right to biological parenthood.
Becoming parents or intended parents is often like a second level of coming out.
An LGBT couple having a baby can be subject to rude remarks or intrusive personal questions by friends, family members, co-workers, or even strangers. While some may look at a lesbian couple and merely assume that one partner was inseminated with donor sperm, which is just one treatment option, it’s possible the couple chose a more recently-available family-building option: reciprocal IVF. The couple may have had one partner carry the pregnancy created by a combining a donor’s sperm with the other partner’s egg.
In addition, there are many family-building options when fertility preservation is done prior to hormone therapy and gender affirming surgery. Fertility preservation would be done prior to transition by retrieving and freezing the eggs of an individual assigned female at birth or freezing the sperm of an individual assigned male at birth for future family planning use.
A gay couple with a child may simply be assumed to have adopted rather than having undergone the process of finding two women willing to help them become a family. First, an egg donor to donate her eggs and then, a gestational carrier to carry the pregnancy to term for them as intended parents in the state of New York (where surrogacy is not legal at this time).
While coming out as an LGBT person, or as LGBT parents or intended parents requires courage, the desire to parent is universally strong among all humans, if they so choose. There should be no societal stigma or prejudice to deter anyone from trying to realize that dream.
If you are considering family-building, now or in the future, the compassionate medical professionals at Long Island IVF would like to help. Contact us today for more information.
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Do you feel people are more accepting of coming out in general than they are of coming out as intended parents?