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BUSINESS PROFILE: Reproductive Sciences Center boasts 20 years of building LGBT families

LA JOLLA, Calif. -- For many, the process of creating a family is an emotional roller-coaster ride filled with more questions than answers.

With a state-of-the-art facility in La Jolla and a tight-knit staff led by a world-renowned fertility specialist, Reproductive Sciences Center (RSC) has been helping gay and lesbian couples enjoy the path to parenthood for the beautiful, life-affirming journey it should be.

“Working with LGBT couples is particularly rewarding,” said Samuel H. Wood, M.D., Ph.D., RSC’s medical director. “In my more than 20 years of being a physician, it’s hard to find a more dedicated group of people determined to raise a child.”

RSC is a “one-stop facility,” meaning that it has its own custom exam rooms, operating room and state-of-the-art IVF laboratory. The facility also runs its own blood tests and every ultrasound is performed by a doctor, and never a technician, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant.

“We specialize in highly customized care,” Wood said.

“Couples come to us with lots of questions,” Wood said. “Not only do we take the time to answer them, we also take time to listen and get to know their stories. Often, just by listening, we’ll find some small clue that helps us come up with the absolute best treatment plan, individualized for them, to maximize their chances of success.”

Often that will include testing the genetic health of the embryos created through IVF in a procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD). In addition to screening for abnormalities that may lead to an unsuccessful pregnancy, PGD also reveals if the embryo is male or female, allowing couples to choose the gender of their child.

This sort of “family balancing” is ideal for parents with a child of one gender who want to balance their families out, or for those couples who only want one child, and have always dreamed of having a baby girl or boy.

“Ours is the only clinic in San Diego that does our own, in-house PGD,” Wood said. “We get results faster and have far more control over the quality of information.”

While RSC offers a full slate of IVF services, that isn’t always the answer for every couple. Some couples opt for the lower-cost, lower tech Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), which is particularly popular among lesbian couples.

“IUI is a very popular procedure with many of our patients,” Wood said. “It’s often the most affordable option, and can be done with or without medication.”

IUI is a process of taking sperm and injecting it directly into the uterus. Often the sperm is donated from a close friend or relative of the non-recipient partner, or in some cases acquired from a bank. Prior to insemination the sperm is treated in our facility in a way to maximize its impact.

“IUIs can be effective under the right circumstances,” Wood said. “However, it’s not very useful for male couples,” he joked.

For male couples, a surrogate is necessary. Very often the surrogate is known to the couples, even sometimes a relative. However, sometimes the couple will need to bring a surrogate in from a gay friendly surrogacy agency. “We work very well under either circumstance,” said Wood.

“In fact,” he added, “when couples come to us needing a surrogate or egg donor, or both, we have a variety of options from which we can choose.”

RSC has a close partnership with Select Surrogate and Donor Agency, one of the top LGBT-friendly surrogate and egg donor agencies in the country. With pre-screened California-based surrogates and egg donors, Select Surrogate has earned a reputation for being welcoming to all kinds of families.

Reproductive Sciences Center and Select Surrogate & Donor Agency are listees in the SDGLN Equality Directory and have a long history of working with the LGBT community.

Reproductive Sciences Center can be reached at (858) 625-0125, on Facebook or on the web.

Select Surrogate and Donor Agency can be reached at (858) 453-2229 or online.