How can I have kids if I have a medical problem, or if I’m gay or non-binary?

Basically – science! Assisted reproductive technologies have come a long way since the first IVF baby was born. Check out this animation for an overview of some of the ways the latest advances in medicine can be used to create modern families.

Overview | Is it possible to get pregnant on your period?
How can I have kids if I have a medical problem, or if I’m gay or non-binary?

 

 

This animation was written by Grace Dugdale and created for the British Fertility Society’s Fertility Education Initiative, which is chaired by Adam Balen

Transcript

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt different

Different to the ‘girl meets boy’ thing, anyway…

I’ve always liked girls… Telling my family eventually was interesting.

I got used to it though…this ‘different’ thing..

The family part still gets to me though. Like I can’t have kids with the person I love like a straight person can.

Maybe it’s no different to my friend Mark who has no sperm though…

Maybe… maybe.. we’re not so different in reality…

Maybe having babies isn’t that straightforward for lots of us…

For John who becomes Joanna…

For Haruki who got cancer and had to freeze his sperm…

For Becky who meets Simon at 44 and it’s too late…

For Priya who was born with no womb and can’t carry her own baby…

What I’ve come to realise is that science often has an answer..

…that technology developed for women who couldn’t get pregnant can help me too…

And them too.

Becky tried IVF, for instance, which is basically where a girl’s ovaries get stimulated with hormone injections to produce lots of mature eggs at once, which are then collected by a simple procedure and fertilised with sperm in a little dish.

Her embryos were allowed to grow for 5 days before one was inserted back into the womb. Normally, leftover embryos that develop properly can be frozen and used for more IVF cycles later, without needing to stimulate the ovaries each time.

Becky’s IVF didn’t work though…’cos how well it works depends on lots of things, including age, especially of the mother.

They didn’t need ICSI… which is kind of like IVF, but it’s mainly for men with poor sperm… and Simon’s sperm was fine.

With ICSI, an embryologist selects a strong swimmer from a sperm sample and injects it directly into the egg, instead of mixing sperm and eggs together and letting fertilisation just happen…

For Mark, sperm would need to be extracted with a needle during an operation as he has no sperm when he ejaculates…

And people can freeze sperm and eggs to use later, if they’re not ready or able to have kids right now.

Eggs especially don’t always survive freezing and defrosting though, plus there can be time limits on how long you’re allowed to store frozen eggs, so it’s never a guarantee that you’ll have kids with those eggs, but it can be one part of a plan to have a family someday.

And for Priya with no womb….? She can use a surrogate who’s willing to carry her baby – maybe with the help of others who are willing to donate eggs, sperm or embryos.

This all needs IVF, obviously, so especially with sperm, girls like me should always use screened sperm from men who’ve been through proper checks to be a donor…

So many things are possible though…including for people like Ellie with disabilities that limit their fertility or ability to carry a baby… or those who don’t want to pass on genetic conditions to their kids…

We’ve come a long way since the first IVF baby was born, and that’s pretty cool.

I used to be worried, but now it doesn’t seem so bad.

Maybe I can’t have a baby with someone I love in the way a straight couple can, but I know we’ve all got options, and that makes me happy.

Testimonials

“I just wanted to say a huge thanks for the care you have provided over the last 5 years in the creation of our family of 3.”

“Many thanks for all your care and support over the last couple of years. We cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for us and we are super excited about the birth of our baby due next month. The work you do is fantastic and we can never thank you enough.”

“I had my NHS scan last week and confirmed my due date, it feels like a dream come true!”

Note: This patient conceived naturally after failed IVF cycles and multiple miscarriages.