Assisted Reproductive Technology

Countries where lesbian couples have access to assisted reproduction techniques (ART):

Andorra: access to ART for lesbians.

Argentina: access to ART for lesbians.

Austria: since 2014, access to ART for lesbians.

Australia: access to ART for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

Belgium: access to ART for lesbians.

Brazil: since 2011, access to ART for lesbians.

Canada: access to ART for lesbians.

Denmark: since 2006, access to ART for lesbians and since 2013, automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

Finland: since 2006, access to ART for lesbians.

Iceland: since 2006, access to ART for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

Ireland: since 2000, access to ART for lesbians.

Israel: access to ART for lesbians.

Luxembourg: access to ART for lesbians.

Mexico: access to ART for lesbians.

New Zealand: since 2004, access to ART for lesbians.

Norway: since 2009, access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

Portugal: since 2016, access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

South Africa: since 2003, access to ART for lesbians.

Spain: since 2006, access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

Sweden: since 2005, access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

The Netherlands: access to IVF for lesbians and automatic parenthood for both spouses after birth.

United Kingdom: since 2009, access to IVF for lesbians and both parents in the birth certificate.

United States: access to ART for lesbians.

Uruguay: since 2013, access to ART for lesbians.

Lesbian Access to Assisted Reproduction Techniques


Medically assisted reproduction includes several techniques, of which the most common are artificial insemination and in vitro fertilization (IVF).
In the case of lesbian couples (or a woman intending to undertake a single motherhood project), the spermatozoa are obtained from donors, in most situations as anonymous donors.
Fertility clinics perform a set of tests to try to ensure they are viable and healthy spermatozoa.

Artificial Insemination

The technique of artificial insemination consists of the introduction of sperm into the woman’s uterus during ovulation. In this situation fertilization, if it occurs, takes place in utero.
The moment the artificial insemination technique is performed is critical, since fertilization will only occur if there is a viable egg. The window of opportunity is about 12 hours after the ovum is released from the ovary.
In this context it is fundamental to make a close monitoring of the ovulatory cycle, trying to find the best time for insemination. Depending on the cases it may be necessary to do hormonal stimulation in order to potentiate and regulate ovulation.

In vitro fertilization

In vitro insemination (IVF) is performed by fertilization of an egg by a spermatozoon in an artificial medium, after which the resulting embryo is implanted in the uterus.
The eggs can be collected from the woman who will perform the procedure or come from an egg donation.
Recourse to an egg donation can be a good option if there is a clinical situation that justifies it or if the woman intending to become pregnant is older than 38/40 years. The success rate of IVF is directly dependent on the woman’s age (in case we are talking about her own eggs), being about 47% for women under 35 and less than 10% for women over 42 years. Studies have shown that the success rate of IVF by donating eggs of about 55% (in techniques using fresh donor egg embryos).

In the case of the woman using her own eggs, she will have to undergo an ovarian stimulation process, which consists of the administration of several hormones. The result is the development of multiple follicles of the ovaries.
After ovarian stimulation, the egg (or eggs) is (are) collected (performed under sedation).

The collected eggs are analyzed and fertilized in the laboratory. The fertilized eggs remain in culture for 2 to 6 days and are analyzed regularly. Those with the highest potential are chosen and implanted in the uterus. Usually 1, 2 or 3 are implanted.
About 10 days after implantation the woman should perform a pregnancy test.

Predictors of success include, for example, beyond the mother’s age (if ovules are used), embryo quality, good response to ovarian stimulation, body mass index within normal values, absence of smoking habits, reduced consumption of alcohol and caffeine.

The main complications of IVF include, for example, multiple pregnancy, abortion, preterm delivery, or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

Image – Blausen.com staff (2014). “Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014“.WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436