LGBTQ2S+: A Fight for Equal Rights in Fertility Care

The use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) is essential for LGBTQ2S+ family building.  We at Tripod Fertility are proud to be a provider of these tools for families and individuals.  Same sex male couples, Same sex female couples, non-binary couples/ single people, trans individuals and couples are all welcome.  Sadly, this inclusivity in reproductive medicine and even in basic human rights isn’t yet a worldwide standard. Today only 30 countries have legalized same sex marriage with only a few actively protecting LGBTQ2S+ rights, especially the one to reproduce. Furthermore, finding helpful information about the laws surrounding ART and LGBTQ2S+ can be challenging and frustrating which is why this month we should take the time to discuss some hardships LGBTQ2S+ couples and single individuals have to go through to build a family.

Same Sex (Male) and single (Male) Family building

The typical family building journey for same-sex couple and single male necessitates an egg donor and a surrogate, both of which can be known friends of the intended parents with only the egg donor having the possibility of anonymity. The rarity of surrogacy friendly countries/LGBTQ2S+ Surrogacy friendly countries paired with high costs can make this option inaccessible to most if not well informed. Here are some quick facts about gay couples and single male family building difficulties:

  • In 2020, oocyte donation in Europe was still banned in Germany, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey[1], they remain banned to this day.
  • In Canada, the cost for surrogacy can total to more than $80,000, making the entire process inaccessible for lower-income partners and for single people. [2]
  • Even when legalized, surrogacy is often unregulated making it more complicated, stressful, and inaccessible.
  • In the United States, discrimination against LGBTQ2S+ couples in need of a surrogate is frequent, ranging from insurance companies using loopholes in the law to discriminate against gay couples[3], to states such as Michigan effectively banning surrogacy for same sex couples and single individuals.[4]


Same Sex (Female) and single (Female) Family building

As for same-sex couple and single female, the typical fertility journey consists of the usage of a sperm donor with either intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Similarly, to gay partners and single male, the high cost of procedures paired with the rarity of LGBTQ2S+ friendly countries and vague laws make this journey unnecessarily stressful and confusing for all. Here are some quick facts concerning Lesbian couples’ and single women’s fertility journey difficulties:

  • In Canada, it’s illegal to pay for a sperm donation, disincentivizing donations and causing shortages nationwide.
  • In 2020 the EUROPEAN SOCIETY OF HUMAN REPRODUCTION AND EMBRYOLOGY noted that “In 11 of the 43 countries surveyed access [to Assisted Reproductive Technology] is limited to heterosexual couples with a diagnosis of infertility”1
  • According to the CBC, governmental IVF funding programs only exist in 4 Canadian provinces.[5]


Transgender Individuals

A typical fertility journey for transgender individuals both transgender women and transgender men involves either some form of egg preservation (sperm or oocyte freezing) or some hormonal therapy to restore reproductive organs’ function. Not only are these options already expensive on their own, but it might also be necessary for the individual to take additional medication than a cisgender individual, resulting in price inequality akin to discrimination. Furthermore, the lack of proper education surrounding transgender children and teenagers paired with issues associated with underage egg freezing can result in loss of fertility before egg preservation.  Transphobic, and inconsiderate remarks from medical personnel, other patients and communities can make the fertility journey humiliating and scaring to individuals, and disincentivizing transgender people from getting fertility help.

At Tripod Fertility, we believe that no matter the gender expression, gender identity, and sexual orientation, everybody should be treated equally. We are proud to say that we offer fertility treatment options and family building tools free of discrimination, judgment, and negativity to everyone.