LGBT fertility treatment helps pave the way to a family for same-sex couples like Gina and Ashley
Gina and Ashley grew up together going to the same Austin schools, but it would take decades for the two to reunite, fall in love and marry. They overcame distance, legal hurdles and Gina’s severe endometriosis before they settled into their happily ever after.
“I went to high school with Ashley’s brother, but moved away in 2001 to go to college and grad school at the University of Houston,” said Gina, currently a speech-language pathologist in Austin. “When I moved back to Austin I ran into Ashley at an evening out with friends for my 30th birthday. She happened to be there with her brother.”
Gina and Ashley married in San Francisco in 2013, years before that door opened in Texas. They wanted children, so started making connections and talking to other same-sex couples. After a lifetime of severe menstrual cycles and pelvic pain, Gina suspected that she would have a problem.
TFC welcomes same-sex couples for LGBT fertility treatment
“The [heterosexual] family that referred us to TFC had two children through IVF with Dr. Vaughn,” said Gina. “We checked the Texas Fertility Center website and saw the LGBT-friendly logo and it made me feel comfortable that it was OK to call. It’s nice to see it on the website.”
Gina made an appointment with Dr. Lisa Hansard. Initial ultrasound testing revealed ovarian cysts and, combined with her medical history, the findings led Dr. Hansard to recommend fast-tracked laparoscopic surgery. Eight days later, Dr. Hansard confirmed that Gina had severe endometriosis, a diagnosis that had eluded Gina’s primary care doctor even after Gina’s trip to the ER with severe pain. What felt like a burst appendix was actually caused by a ruptured cyst.
(Her obgyn saw the cysts during an annual well woman visit, but had preferred to wait and see.)
“Dr. Hansard definitely was a life-saver. She said everything looked good after surgery, but that endometriosis can come back within a year so we should try to get pregnant.”
Donor sperm IUI after endometriosis surgery
After surgery in October, Gina and Ashley got married and came back in February for fertility treatment. The couple prayed about the path to take and enlisted the help of a lawyer who advised them to use an anonymous sperm donor. They found a reputable cryobank to arrange for donor sperm IUI. After the first three attempts did not succeed, Dr. Hansard sat down with the couple to reevaluate.
“Dr. Hansard talked with us and recommended that we change sperm donors,” says Gina. “His count was lower than she had wanted.”
The fourth IUI attempt worked; Gina and Ashley had baby Giana in February 2015. Keeping in mind Dr. Hansard’s advice to proactively pursue pregnancy after endometriosis surgery, the couple underwent another IUI cycle and got pregnant after the first attempt. Their son Ashten was born in April 2016.
What’s next for the family of four
The mothers secured a second-parent adoption so that Ashley is protected and, after speaking with Dr. Hansard about LGBT fertility treatment options, decided that Ashley will carry the third child through donor sperm IUI or reciprocal IVF. This fertility treatment allows each partner to participate in the pregnancy—one provides the egg and the other carries the baby.
“For many years I didn’t think I could have children, and I never thought that in two years we would have two children,” says Gina. “We owe it all to Dr. Hansard.”
The new mom says that having two small children is so wonderful and that she doesn’t even feel tired because she is so happy. “I have a baby in one arm and I’m chasing after a toddler. I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
Having a child using LGBT fertility treatment such as IUI with donor sperm or reciprocal IVF should be a positive experience. Contact us and our caring and efficient team who can help you make dreams a reality.