Utilization of fertility treatment and reproductive choices by lesbian couples

This study provides numbers, demographics, and goals of lesbian couples seeking reproductive assistance, as well as the number of cycles needed to achieve a live birth.

Volume 106, Issue 7, Pages 1709-1713


Olivia J. Carpinello, M.D., Mary Casey Jacob, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., John Nulsen, M.D., Claudio Benadiva, M.D., H.C.L.D.



To describe intentions and outcomes of lesbian couples requesting reproductive assistance; and report number of cycles needed to achieve a live birth.


Retrospective chart review.


University-based fertility center.


A total of 306 lesbian couples who sought reproductive assistance between 2004 and 2015.


Intrauterine insemination or IVF using donor sperm.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Mean age, relationship status, family size, preconception goals, conception attempts, number of cycles to achieve a live birth.


Preconception plans were available for 233 couples: 76.4% planned for one partner to conceive and carry (single partner conception); 23.6% planned for both partners to eventually conceive and carry (dual partner conception). Of 306 couples who presented, 85.1% attempted single partner conception, and 68% of these achieved a live birth. Dual partner conception was attempted by 14.9% of couples, and 88.9% achieved a live birth. Of those who conceived with IUI, a mean (±SD) of 3 ± 1.1 cycles were completed. Of those who conceived with IVF, a mean of 6 ± 1.4 IUI and 1.7 ± 0.3 IVF cycles were completed.


Lesbian couples may improve their likelihood of a live birth if both partners attempt conception. Further studies are needed to understand why one-fifth of patients did not pursue treatment.

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