Use of Donor Sperm by Lesbians Rises in Canada, Study Finds

Legalization of gay marriage appears to have 'huge impact' on reproductive medicine

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TUESDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Use of donor sperm by lesbian couples increased significantly after gay marriage was legalized in the province of Ontario, Canada, a new study finds.

Researchers in Toronto analyzed data from their sperm donor program over the past 17 years and found that the proportion of lesbian couples using the program increased from 15 percent to 20 percent of their patients after gay marriage was legalized in 2003.

The number of units of donor sperm used by lesbian couples increased fourfold, from 133 to 561, according to the findings, which were scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the International Federation of Fertility Societies and the American Society for Reproduction Medicine, in Boston.

"There is no question that broad social trends have a huge impact on reproduction, and on reproductive medicine," IFFS President Joe Leigh Simpson said in a federation news release. "It is nice to have some actual data which documents how some of these trends impact our profession and, more importantly, our patients."

The study also found that 15 percent of single women and women in heterosexual relationships used donor sperm for in vitro fertilization, compared with 7 percent of lesbian women.

Data and conclusions presented at medical meetings typically are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice for gay and lesbian parents.

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