New Reproductive Technologies for LGBTQIA+ People and ART Bill, 2021

Wherever you go around the world, you’re more than likely to come across children raised by parents who identify as LGBTQIA+. One reason for this increase in LGBTQIA+ people’s ability to contribute to the world of parenting is the increasing availability of reproductive technologies.

One option gaining popularity for LGBTQIA+ individuals looking to have a child of their own is assisted reproductive technology, otherwise known simply as “ART.” We know it sounds a little too scientific, so we’ll break it down for you as much as possible.

What exactly is ART, and how does it benefit the LGBTQIA+ community?

ART, or assisted reproductive technology, refers to various medical procedures used to help individuals or couples become pregnant. These procedures can include in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and gestational carrier arrangements.

For the LGBTQIA+ community, ART can offer a way to have children when traditional methods of conception are not possible or desired. For example, LGBTQIA+ individuals or couples may use ART to have children using their own eggs or sperm or donated eggs or sperm.

The specifics of how ART works will depend on the specific procedure used and the patient’s circumstances. For example, in the case of IVF, a woman’s eggs are fertilised with sperm in a laboratory setting, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the uterus. In the case of IUI, sperm is inserted directly into the uterus to fertilise an egg.

In gestational carrier arrangements, a woman carries and gives birth to a child for another person or couple using an embryo created using the intended parent’s eggs or sperm or donated eggs or sperm.

Various ART Procedures

–          Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)

Frozen Embryo Transfer is a procedure in which a frozen embryo, created through in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or other assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedure, is thawed and transferred to the uterus of a biological female in the hopes of achieving pregnancy. FET can be used by individuals or couples who have previously undergone an IVF or ART procedure and have frozen embryos available, or by individuals or couples using donated embryos.

–          Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)

Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) is a procedure in which eggs are retrieved from the ovaries of a biological female and mixed with sperm in a laboratory. The resulting embryos are immediately transferred to their fallopian tubes, where fertilisation occurs. GIFT is typically used for couples experiencing fertility issues and is less commonly performed today due to the availability of other ART procedures with higher success rates.

–          In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In IVF, eggs are collected from the ovaries of a biological female and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory setting. The embryos that result are then transferred to their uterus in the hopes of achieving pregnancy. IVF can be used by LGBTQIA+ individuals or couples who wish to have children using their own eggs or sperm or donated eggs or sperm.

So, when it comes to various new reproductive technologies in India, the legality of access by LGBTQIA+ people is a whole different discussion. It is more difficult for LGBTQIA+ people to have a child biologically or to be intimately connected with their child’s entire birthing process than it is for non-queer people. The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021, excludes and discriminates against single men, cohabiting heterosexual couples, and LGBTQ+ couples and individuals from accessing ARTs.