There are several ways you could become a parent if getting pregnant by having sex is not an option for you.
Possible ways to become a parent include:
- donor insemination
- IUI (intrauterine insemination)
- adoption or fostering
There are also several ways that could help people with fertility problems have a baby, including IVF (in vitro fertilisation).
IUI and IVF can sometimes be done on the NHS. This depends on things like your age. Check with a GP or local integrated care board (ICB) to find out about what might be available to you.
Surrogacy is not available on the NHS.
All these options can be explored by anyone, including single people and same sex couples.
Sperm is put inside the person getting pregnant. This can be done at home, with sperm from a licensed fertility clinic, a sperm bank or someone you know.
If you choose donor insemination, it’s better to go to a licensed fertility clinic where the sperm is checked for infections and some inherited conditions. Fertility clinics can also offer support and legal advice.
If the sperm is not from a licensed fertility clinic, the person donating the sperm can get tested for sexually transmitted infections at a sexual health clinic.
In the UK, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) makes sure licensed fertility clinics run safely and legally.
Find out more:
IUI (intrauterine insemination)
In IUI (intrauterine insemination) sperm is put in the womb of the person getting pregnant. This is done at a licensed fertility clinic. The sperm can be from someone you know or from a sperm bank.
A licensed fertility clinic will check the sperm for sexually transmitted infections and inherited conditions.
This is when 2 or more people team up to conceive and parent children together.
As a co-parent, you will not have sole custody of the child. It's advisable to get legal advice at an early stage of your planning.
There are many details to think about, such as how you'll split financial costs.
Adoption or fostering
You can apply to adopt or foster through a local authority, or an adoption or foster agency. You do not have to live in the local authority you apply to, and you can be single.
You’ll have to complete an assessment before adopting or fostering, with the help of a social worker and preparation training.
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Surrogacy is when someone has a baby for people who cannot, or choose not to, get pregnant themselves.
In the UK either sperm or egg can be from a donor, but not both.
Surrogacy is legal in the UK, but it's illegal to advertise for surrogates and the surrogate cannot be paid a fee.
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Trans and non-binary parents
If you're thinking about starting treatment to physically change your body or you've already started treatment, you can read information for trans and non-binary people seeking fertility treatment on the HFEA website.