Donor Conception

5 must-ask questions when choosing LGBTQ+ inclusive fertility care

Emma Harpham in partnership with The Agora Fertility Clinic  |   30 Oct 2022


For LGBTQ+ individuals and couples on the journey to parenthood, finding a fertility clinic that offers inclusive and affirming care is crucial. But the path to building a family presents unique challenges, making it even more essential to find an LGBTQ+ fertility clinic that understands and respects your specific needs.

Inclusive fertility care not only involves expertise in LGBTQ+ reproductive health but also calls for an environment that fosters sensitivity, respect, and understanding. Together with the team at The Agora Clinic, we’ve compiled a list of five must-ask questions that will guide you in finding the right care for you.

Looking for an LGBTQ+ friendly fertility clinic in Sussex? Connect with The Agora Clinic – they take real pride in ensuring that each person who enters the clinic feels comfortable and heard. Proudly independent and clinician-led, their goal is to support everyone who wants help to have a family, regardless of their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

The problem with access

As an LGBTQ+ individual or couple, more barriers can crop up when it comes to accessing fertility care than for most  – and if that’s you right now, chances are you’re probably feeling quite fed up with it all.

Financial hurdles can be significant, as the cost of treatments and assisted reproductive technologies can be prohibitive. Legal restrictions, such as limitations on surrogacy or adoption based on sexual orientation or gender identity, further complicate the family-building process. Stigma, discrimination, and lack of societal acceptance can also contribute to emotional and psychological barriers, deterring LGBTQ+ individuals from seeking the fertility care they need. 

We hope these questions will empower you to make an informed choice, ensuring that your fertility journey is met with understanding, support and tailored care. Let’s dive into the key questions that will lead you to the compassionate and affirming fertility care you deserve.

choosing an inclusive fertility clinic

1. What are the options for treatment?

This is a question to ask before you even book an initial consultation. An inclusive fertility clinic should offer a comprehensive range of services to address the diverse needs of its patients. This may include fertility assessments, mental health counselling, assisted reproductive technologies, donor conception and surrogacy.

Now all this may seem obvious, but when looking for an LGBTQ+ fertility clinic, experience and expertise in assisting LGBTQ+ individuals and couples with their unique reproductive needs is of course something to ask about. This includes providing services such as sperm or egg donation, surrogacy, and assisted reproductive technologies tailored to LGBTQ+ individuals (such as IVF) that same-sex couples can access. Further, if transgender fertility concerns are something that is relevant to you, asking specifically about fertility preservation methods is a good idea.

2. What certifications and policies does the clinic have?

An inclusive fertility clinic should have clear non-discrimination policies that explicitly state that they do not discriminate against any individual or couple based on their characteristics or circumstances. Further, a clinic committed to inclusion may often have certain certifications or training which mark them as going that one step further. This might mean that their staff must undergo training to properly communicate with each patient through inclusive language and open-ended questions.

3. Are diversity and inclusion issues part of everyday conversation?

This one is worth asking because it can help you understand if the respect, sensitivity and understanding that each person’s fertility journey is unique and personal will show up in the day-to-day care you’ll receive.

This can manifest in different ways, but in short, a commitment to inclusivity every day of the year, through a diverse staff base that is knowledgeable about and sensitive to the specific needs and concerns of diverse groups, will help to ensure you are provided with the genuinely informative and inclusive care you deserve.

“At the Agora Clinic, we devote considerable time and effort to raising awareness, as well as informing and educating those in the LGBTQ+ community who would like to become parents, as well as their friends, colleagues and family. These can be complex journeys to take and are often shrouded in mystery – no one should embark on such pathways alone and especially without expert advice.”

– Dr Carole Gilling-Smith, CEO & Medical Director at The Agora Clinic

inclusive fertility treatment payment options

4. How does the clinic make treatment accessible?

An important question, as genuine inclusivity should also involve addressing financial barriers to accessing fertility treatments. The clinic could offer various treatment and payment packages, coordination of private funding, or information about external NHS funding to ensure that individuals from diverse backgrounds can afford and can access the services. You can ask whether specific financial support for LGBTQ fertility (like LGBTQ IVF grants) are available, and the best ways to find out more.

The kind of resources and information that are easily accessible to you pre-treatment is also a great way to understand a clinic’s commitment to accessibility. The Agora Clinic runs LGBTQ+ Pathways to Parenthood courses, offering free digital access to expert advice from guest speakers to kick start your treatment.

5. Which collaborations and partnerships does the clinic pursue?

This might not be the most obvious question to ask, but in establishing collaborations and partnerships with community organizations, support groups, and other initiatives that cater to LGBTQ+ as well as other minority populations a fertility clinic can help ensure it is providing inclusive care. This helps create a supportive network and referral system for patients who may benefit from additional resources.

The Agora Clinic recently took part in our Fertility Clinics vs. Covid initiative, and generously gave a free round of IVF to one of our eight successful applicants.

You can watch their story below.

Different clinics take different approaches to inclusivity, but overall, the most important question to ask yourself would be – do I feel safe here? Your first impression and gut feeling is probably the best tool you have for choosing a clinic to help you build your family.

When the time comes, the team at The Agora Clinic is here to equip you with information about your fertility and all the options available. With fertility clinics in Brighton, Eastbourne and Worthing, as well as their own egg bank, their outstanding success rates and commitment to exceptional patient support sets them miles apart from the rest. 

So whether you’re ready to start or just want to have a chat, connect with the team today to learn more.

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