Family planning is important, whatever your current situation and your plans are for the future. Every family is different and your journey to parenthood will be unique. The family planning and fertility service needs of a heterosexual couple will be different than a couple of two men or two women, which will be different than a couple with a transgender partner, and from a single man or woman. What your family planning looks like may also vary if, instead of actively trying to have a baby now, you are planning for the future. At Laurel Fertility Care we love working to grow every type of family and will work with you to create the personalized care plan you need to increase your chances of success.
There is no need for mystery in fertility treatment. We want the process of growing your family to be easy to understand from beginning to end, and for you to feel empowered to ask the questions that you need to make the important decisions along the way. So whether you’re still considering your options or know exactly what you’re looking for, we are here to help. Below you can learn about what to expect throughout your treatment, from consultation to confirmed pregnancy.
There are many different reasons that you may be researching fertility treatments or assistance, and not all of them have to do with infertility. Heterosexual or homosexual, married or single, first-time parents or looking to grow your family more, we are here to help you realize the dreams you have for your family.
At the beginning of the fertility process, we will look at all of your treatment options and develop the best course of action for you and your family. At this stage there are medical and legal choices to make, as well as some financial consideration to discuss. Having a clear plan of action in place before the treatment process begins will simplify your choices later in the process. Depending on your specific circumstances we can tailor our treatment plan to meet your needs and goals.
An important aspect of planning for your fertility care is understanding which procedures your insurance will cover and which they won’t. Many treatments are covered by most insurance, and more and more companies are including fertility treatments and family planning procedures as part of their benefits packages.
Depending on your insurance, fertility treatments may not be fully covered. In some situations these treatments may not be covered at all. If that is the case you still have options. We have partnered with several programs that provide different types of financing for fertility care. Our finance specialists will guide you through the process of selecting the right financing package for you. These programs are designed to eliminate the obstacles to achieving your dream of having a family, through easy, affordable loan programs.
We are happy to provide a consultation on what coverage you currently have, and how to best plan for and fund your fertility treatments.Have questions? Speak with our finance specialist now.
If you will be using a donor or a surrogate, establishing your parental rights before any procedures take place is important. Using donated sperm or eggs from a clinic takes care of many of these legal concerns. Keep in mind, if you are part of a same-sex couple you, your partner, or both of you may need to legally adopt your baby once he or she is born.
The processes and precedents for these kinds of contracts are well established. Work with your lawyer to create contracts that clearly establish your parental rights (as well as the rights of your surrogate if you are using one) and move forward with your fertility treatments without worry.
To begin, there are certain decisions you must make. The two most important are:
In your initial consultation we can discuss all of your options, as well as a strategy to maximize the likelihood of success. We are here to advise, to guide, and most of all to support your hopes and decisions.Ready to get started? Schedule your free consultation HERE.
Depending on the plan we devised for you, you will begin one of these processes:
If you will be using intrauterine insemination (IUI), we will start the process by tracking your ovulation to identify your most fertile periods. If ovulation is not occurring normally we may take some extra steps to ensure that there is an egg is produced that can be fertilized. After that, semen is collected, either from your partner or a donor. We will wash the semen, cleaning it of seminal fluid and leaving the healthiest, moving sperm. We do this to give the most motile sperm the best chance of reaching and fertilizing the egg and because inserting unwashed sperm directly into the uterus can cause cramping and pain. Before using donated sperm, we always recommend testing for any transmittable infectious diseases, so that the pregnancy can begin as healthy as possible.Find out more about the full IUI procedure HERE
Depending on your fertility needs, you may consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) rather than using IUI. IVF is one of the oldest and most frequently used fertility assistance procedures. The basic process of IVF involves:
Ovarian hyperstimulation and ovulation induction is produced by a combination of medication to encourage the maturation of multiple eggs at once, since in a normal cycle only one egg will be released. We will check to see that multiple eggs have been produced, and then harvest them in our offices. During this procedure you will be sedated under the supervision and care of an anesthesiologist and your eggs will them be transferred to our lab. We will then combine your eggs with the washed and prepared sperm (from either your partner or a donor) and this mixture will be closely monitored for 18-24 hours to make sure that embryos form.
This process also allows for the opportunity to perform pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) where we can screen for an identifiable genetic defect you or your partner may carry, as well as pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) that may allow us to identify the healthiest embryos with the highest chance of success. Though there is a cost associated with genetic testing, we always recommend using it whenever possible - by only implanting healthy and viable embryos we can improve the chances of implantation and hopefully lessen the number of treatments required before a successful pregnancy. But don’t worry, we will discuss all of your options before beginning the IVF process.You can learn more details about the IVF procedure HERE
If you will need a donor, of either sperm or eggs, there are several critical choices to make. While there are reasons to consider a known donor - a friend, acquaintance, or family member – before going this route there are certain important steps to complete.
There are kits available for at home insemination, also referred to as the “turkey baster method”, but this route comes with some added medical and legal risks. We always recommend running a full array of test for any unknown sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which could harm the mother or the fetus. Future parental claims and responsibilities are also complicated by choosing an at home donor insemination option. The legal rights of your donor depend on where the insemination takes place, as well as what you have established with a lawyer. In California, the legal claims of the sperm donor are released when the insemination takes place in the offices of your fertility care provider.
Similarly, if you are using both a surrogate and an egg donor, you may want to have the donated egg come from a different source than the person carrying the pregnancy. This distinction established the two types of surrogacy:
With traditional surrogacy, the surrogate uses her own eggs and is the biological mother of the baby. There are many different reasons to choose this type of surrogacy. One such situation is if you and your partner are both men and want to have a child that is biologically related to both of you. If either you or your partner has a female relative like a sister or a cousin - that is willing to act as your surrogate, the non-related partner will donate his sperm, and we can then process the semen and inseminate your surrogate using the intrauterine insemination (IUI) method.
There are barriers to traditional surrogacy in many states and potential legal implications. Many couples choose to use gestational surrogacy, where the woman carrying the pregnancy is not the biological mother of the fetus. For couples using a gestational surrogate, the process begins by selecting who that surrogate will be, often by working with one of many established and trusted agencies. Once a surrogate is chosen and the appropriate contracts have been drawn up with a lawyer, semen will be collected from the male partner and eggs harvested from the female partner. Once we’ve processed the eggs and sperm we will combine them in our lab to create embryos using in vitro fertilization (IVF). Those embryos will then be transferred to your surrogate.
Establishing your legal parenthood rights before any procedures take place is a crucial step to make sure there are no complications by the time your baby arrives.
If you are not quite ready to start or expand your family but would like to prepare for the future, you may want to consider freezing your eggs or embryos. There are many reasons to plan for future pregnancies in this way:
The beginning of the egg freezing process is similar to the first steps of in vitro fertilization. We will use ovarian hyperstimulation and ovulation induction to collect multiple eggs in one cycle, and will then remove the eggs in our offices while you are mildly sedated. If you are just preserving your eggs they will then be frozen. If you are planning on freezing embryos, we will take your eggs and combine them with sperm from your partner or from a donor. After about 18-24 hours we will be able to determine if any embryos have formed which we will then freeze.You can find out more about the freezing process for eggs and embryos HERE
Whatever plan and course of treatment we build for you, we will always be available to answer your questions. Come to us at any time with questions or concerns. This process is intensely personal, and we are here to support you.
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you will transition into working with your midwife, OB/GYN, or other healthcare provider. Understanding each part of the fertility treatment process will make it easier to advocate for yourself and the goals of your family. We are so happy to have been able to help you on your journey to building a new family - we can’t wait to count your family as one of our many success stories!