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Equality in Family Building

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  a blog by Genna Banafato, June 27, 2013

It seems that the entire nation is directing their attention to the Capitol for the Supreme Court vote on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and in New Jersey, Gay Pride events are popping up in every town from Wantage to Wildwood. Our culture is changing before our eyes, as another group is fighting to have equal rights in the face of the government. LGBT couples face a different kind of challenge in their journey for equality: Parenting. Unlike a heterosexual couple, who may try up to a year or more before seeking assistance from a fertility doctor, LGBT couples know off the bat that they will need some sort of assisted reproduction.

Dr. Adam Fechner, of University Reproductive Associates (URA) in New Jersey, recognizes that unlike a heterosexual couple reaching out to a fertility doctor for assistance, LGBT couples may have an easier time conceiving because they are not necessarily infertile, just missing a component necessary for pregnancy (sperm, eggs or a uterus). Donors tend to be young and healthy, with a successful history of donation or gestation. "The couple usually just needs assistance putting the pieces together necessary to have a child." The biggest challenge Dr. Fechner continues to see in practice, like with all couples seeking fertility treatments, is financial. Even if the clinic accepts your medical insurance, there can still be necessary aspects of care not covered. LGBT couples face one additional hurdle financially, even if they have medical coverage. Because they may not be facing a medical infertility diagnosis, their insurance may not consider them infertile, so they may not get the full benefit of their coverage.

Dr. Fechner believes New Jersey has a very supportive climate for LGBT couples seeking to build a family. "I find that our patients going through the process are very encouraged by the fact that so many gay and lesbian couples, especially in this area, have build their families through assisted reproduction." It goes without saying that the process seems daunting for an LGBT couple looking to conceive. However, like any other aspect of ART, finding the right clinic can relieve much of that stress.


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