Lesbian and Gay Family Building: An RE’s Perspective

We are thrilled that European Sperm Bank USA and Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) have become our newest sponsors and supporters of our LGBT Family Building Outreach Program.

RMACT’s Medical Director and lead infertility doctor Dr. Mark Leondires offers his very personal insights into the unique issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) couples who seek to build their families and how RESOLVE New England is here to help.

By Dr. Mark Leondires

I’m so happy and proud that RESOLVE New England decided to move forward with their LGBT initiative. As a board certified reproductive endocrinologist, I have worked for years helping patients overcome the hurdles associated with family building and infertility. For many in the LGBT community, in order to be themselves, they had to face the hurdle of not being able to have a family the traditional way. With this initiative, RESOLVE New England is committed to providing the best possible education and support for the LGBT community and clinics providing fertility services.

Coming out later in life as a gay man I had concerns about acceptance, both personally and in my professional life. I had always known that I wanted a family which included children. When I had that “special” conversation with my mother, she not only grieved that I was gay, but also grieved that I would never make her a grandmother. This comment initially was a surprise to me; I have a better understanding of it now. One of the basic tenets of human society is to be part of a family, which is usually defined as including children.

Thankfully, in 2013 being a gay man does not mean having to be without children as part of my family.

As a reproductive endocrinologist, I knew all the medical processes that gay men and lesbian women needed to go through to bring a child into their lives. What I was not aware of were all the other steps necessary to complete this process. Secondary to the standing of LGBT people in our society, there are additional and very specific, legal requirements which are very important to protect the health and well-being of our families and our children. An integral part of family building for LGBT couples is to include legal counsel in the process for everyone involved, each step of the way.

The goal of the RESOLVE New England initiative is to make transparent the steps necessary for LGBT persons who want to pursue family building. To help LGBT singles or couples navigate both the medical and legal landscape of family building. In order for my husband and I to have our child we literally needed a village: a fertility clinic, a surrogacy agency, an insurance company, an egg donor, a reproductive attorney, and a gestational carrier. This required a great deal of paperwork, dollars, and patience. While this seemed somewhat overwhelming at the time, it has brought the more joy into my life than I ever imagined. Being a parent is a dream come true.

Navigating the process was stressful and complicated even for me, a professional in the field. RESOLVE New England plans to help this process with education and presentations and to work with agencies, clinics, attorneys, and LGBT persons to make the process easier and to drive a paradigm shift. We can become parents and we can help and support others in similar circumstances navigate the challenges along the way.

While there are many different facets that need to be addressed when trying to conceive a child in a same sex relationship, there is help out there. As an LGBT person, it is now accepted to get married in many states and is becoming more accepted to have children. It is this acceptance which will allow all of us to participate in the journey of raising a child and being part of a different group: parents.

About the Author
Dr. Mark P. Leondires, Medical Director and lead infertility doctor with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), is board-certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
RMACT Gay Parents to BeGayParentsToBe.com, RMACT’s new website, showcases the unique program offered at RMACT; utilizing an established professional network, including gestational carrier, egg donor and sperm donor agencies as well as specialized financial programs. For over 10 years RMACT has been providing the LGBT community with the highest level of compassionate care and clinical excellence.

Our GayParentsToBe team includes Andrea Braverman, PhD, as well as RMACT’s Medical Director, Dr. Mark P. Leondires, whose interests are both personal and professional. Dr. Leondires and his husband have one child.

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