The LGBTQ community faces unique challenges when it comes to family building. REACH recognizes these challenges and is pleased to have the expertise of Gullick and Associates to assist patients through their fertility journey. Gullick and Associates is a regional practice of licensed psychologists specializing in all aspects of infertility. Dr. Eugenia Gullick is a licensed psychologist with her Masters and Doctorate degrees in clinical psychology from the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. Dr. Gullick has served on the faculties of two medical schools, the Medical College of Virginia, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. She has over 35 years of experience in the field of infertility and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). She has worked with REACH patients for more than 20 years.
Dr. Steven F Peed, is a licensed psychologist with over 40 years’ experience working with individuals and couples including LGBTQ clients. He is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the American Psychological Association. For many years, Dr. Peed was affiliated with the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. He and his wife, Elaine have two adult daughters and five grandchildren.
Dr. Gullick and Dr. Peed address some of the challenges LGBTQ patients face below:
Assisted reproduction technologies (ART) offer hope to many in their attempts to build their family. However, this journey is one that presents important decisions and potential stress. For the LGBTQ community, there are additional issues. From the beginning, ART (including donor sperm, donor egg, donor embryo, and gestational carrier options) has offered the LGBTQ community methods of family building not previously available. Many in the community have taken advantage of these and have built healthy and happy families. And yet, there are challenges not encountered by more traditional families. These challenges fall into three major areas.
For single intended parents and same sex couples, the intended parent/parents must select a suitable sperm/egg donor and perhaps, gestational carrier or embryo donor. While the selections are not unique to the LGBTQ community, these decisions can be stressful. Physicians and treatment teams can be valuable in this process, and many follow the guidelines of professional societies such as the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Often, pre-treatment counseling is required, and can be very helpful.
Second, members of the LGBTQ community face the stressors associated with discrimination against their lifestyle choices, particularly in family building. Some legal obstacles have been removed in recent years (i.e., recognition of same sex marriages). Despite this, many members of the community continue to face the stress of family or societal rejection of their lifestyle.
Third are the concerns and considerations for one’s children as they develop as members of nontraditional families. Children in the LGBTQ community may face discrimination also. Fortunately, this type of judgment and discrimination, and the resulting stress is not inevitable. In many situations parents have found counseling for the child of the family to be helpful in decision-making and coping with these issues. While professional counseling is an important tool available to intended parents, it is not the only tool available to parents, but it can be a useful resource in creating a support system for the development of healthy families. Other resources are critical including supportive friends, family, and larger community.
For any member of the LGBTQ community, we recommend that you seek the resources that provide the support you need. Seek a professional practice (such as REACH) which follows the guidelines of recognized professional societies such as ASRM. Also seek assistance from professionals who are sensitive to the unique challenges facing the LGBTQ community. Your doctor and professional team members are good sources of recommendations. Professional organizations can often provide information about practitioners who are skilled in working with ART patients and who have particular experience with nontraditional family building. While there can be stress associated with this effort, thousands of LGBTQ families have found the journey life-changing.
6135 Park South Drive,
Charlotte, N.C. 28210
Phone: 704 366-9940