Fertility Blog

Demystifying LGBTQ+ Family-Building Myths and Misconceptions

Over the years, significant strides have been made in supporting the rights of LGBTQ+ couples and families. However, despite these efforts, myths and misconceptions surrounding LGBTQ+ family building continue to circulate. Often, such fallacies gain traction due to a lack of understanding and/or misinformation. Therefore, it is important to debunk these myths in an attempt to promote inclusivity, respect, and accurate information regarding LGBTQ+ family building.

Myth 1: LGBTQ+ folks cannot have biological children

One of the most common misconceptions is that LGBTQ+ couples and individuals are unable to have biological children, when in fact, there are multiple avenues for those in the LGBTQ+ community to have children of their own. For instance, same-sex and trans couples can choose to have children with the help of assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as, but not limited to, in vitro fertilization {IVF}, intrauterine insemination {IUI}, fertility preservation, egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy. Here are some common examples:

  • A gay male couple may choose to create embryos using donor eggs, and their own sperm, which is then implanted into a surrogate’s uterus via IVF.
  • A lesbian couple may opt to have both or just one partner become pregnant using donor sperm via IUI, a procedure in which sperm is placed directly into the uterus.

Depending on preferences and fertility needs, treatments will vary among LGBTQ+ couples and individuals. Many often require a combination of ARTs. It’s important to talk to your doctor about which options are best for you and your family.

If you are not ready to start a family now but may want to in the future, reproductive medicine also makes it possible for individuals to freeze their eggs, sperm, and/or embryos for later use. This option is particularly helpful for transgender persons undergoing hormone therapy. If you have, or are currently undergoing gender-affirming therapy, and are interested in starting a family, make sure to ask your doctor about fertility preservation and your reproductive options.

Myth 2: LGBTQ+ families aren't as stable as heterosexual families

A particularly pernicious myth perpetuated about the LGBTQ+ community claims that such families are somehow less stable and capable of providing a nurturing environment for children compared to heterosexual families. Research consistently indicates that the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of parents has no bearing on a family's stability or the well-being of the children involved. Numerous studies have demonstrated that children raised by LGBTQ+ parents are as emotionally, socially, and cognitively well as those raised by heterosexual parents. A stable and nurturing family environment is founded on the love, care, and support provided by parents, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Myth 3: LGBTQ+ folks don't experience infertility

It is a common assumption that LGBTQ+ couples and individuals do not face fertility issues. However, this is far from the truth. All people, regardless of their sexual orientation and /or gender identity are susceptible to fertility challenges. Those seeking to start a family, but are unable to conceive, should talk to their provider about common issues such as:

  • Low sperm production
  • Abnormal sperm
  • Blockages to sperm delivery
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

If you are already seeking fertility treatments to aid conception, your doctor will evaluate your fertility health to determine which options are best for you. Typically, fertility issues stem from chronic health problems and/or lifestyle choices. For better fertility outcomes, make sure to maintain a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and avoid drugs and alcohol.

Promoting Understanding and Inclusivity

It is imperative for all to know that those in the LGBTQ+ community have the same opportunities and rights to family building as anyone else. By debunking these myths, we hope to create a more supportive and respectful environment, in which members of the LGBTQ+ community have access to accurate and helpful information. To learn more about your fertility options as an LGBTQ+ individual, schedule a consultation with one of our trusted providers. At Washington Fertility Center, we believe in your path to parenthood, and can provide the personalized and inclusive care necessary to build the family of your dreams.