Source: Getty Images

Considering a Family Through IVF? Meet The Prelude Network


A home for two is just the starting point for many couples, with children an essential part of the plan for completing the family. Parenting is a natural human instinct, and while families without children are just as valid and important as those that include offspring, the dream of parenting can be a powerful pull.

But not all couples can add to their family without needing to invest some real intention. This can mean putting time and resources into having children, and reproductive care providers can provide a crucial piece of the puzzle as LGBTQ+ couples set about growing their families and preparing to welcome children into loving, supportive, and nurturing homes.

Comprising more than 90 clinics, employing specialists in fertility in eighteen cities throughout North America, The Prelude Network – North America's largest and fastest-growing network of fertility centers – allows families around the U.S. and in Canada the chance for in-person consultations to help them determine exactly what route to parenthood will fit their needs and desires best.

Dr. Jenna McCarthy of IVFMD – a part of The Prelude Network – spoke to how IVFMD, which has six locations in South Florida, aligns with those supportive and loving homes by offering a supportive experience for couples seeking to fulfill their parenthood journeys.

"We all worked for Juergen Eiserman, Medical Director and Founder of IVFMD," Dr. McCarthy recalled of her early days in the field. "I remember when I first joined Dr. Eiserman, I said, 'How do I make sure that I'm successful at this new career that I'm starting?' And he said, 'Oh, it's very easy. Take care of the patients, and everything else takes care of itself.'

"And that's very much the way that the practice operated," Dr. McCarthy adds. "It wasn't just lip service. It really was always about the patients first." That hasn't changed since IVFMD became part of The Prelude Network, which, Dr. McCarthy says operates in "very much the same way."

The Prelude Network sees the value of all families and welcomes the prospective parents with attentive, inclusive, and individualized plans for IUI and IVF, two of the most prevalent and effective interventions that allow couples to add their own biological children to their families.

The Prelude Network doesn't just talk the talk; with providers that understand first-hand the challenges, as well as the aspirations, of same-sex families, The Prelude Network is well equipped to hear and respond to the wishes and needs of the families its fertility specialists work with.

Dr. Jenna McCarthy

Core Values

Family is a core value for many LGBTQ+ people and their partners or spouses, and affirmation is a core value for The Prelude Network. That's a message they put front and center.

"We support your fertility goals whether you are single or partnered, or identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community," The Prelude Network declares at its website.

"That philosophy carries through behind closed doors, as well, which is something that I've really appreciate," Dr. McCarthy notes, before adding that it's important that the same-sex couples that turn to The Prelude Network "know that they're welcome, and we see them and we recognize they may have different challenges than a single mom by choice, or a single dad by choice, or a heterosexual couple. That's really important to keep in mind."

Indeed, LGBTQ+ fertility care is one of the network's primary services. As the network's website notes, "Families come in all shapes and sizes – the most important thing that defines them is love.

"At The Prelude Network®, we believe that everyone, regardless of marital status, gender identity, or sexuality, deserves the chance to experience the joy of having a family," text at the site adds. "The fertility clinics within our network are dedicated to providing an inclusive, compassionate, and supportive fertility care journey for all LGBTQ+ individuals."

Prospective parents looking for just that combination of expertise and affirmation can download the network's fertility guide to access easy-to-understand information about assisted reproductive technology, including IVF and IUI, and how they can help families grow.

Source: Getty Images

The Basics

The two major fertility treatments The Prelude Network offers LGBTQ+ couples are IUI and IVF. Simply put, IUI – Intrauterine Insemination – involves depositing a partner or donor's sperm directly into the uterus, where fertilization can take place.

IVF – In Vitro Fertilization – on the other hand involves uniting a sperm cell with an ovum (or egg) under controlled laboratory conditions. Once an embryo is created by fertilizing an egg, it can be implanted in the carrying partner's or surrogate's womb, or frozen for implantation in the future.

The exact needs of any given family are as diverse as families themselves, and that is something that The Prelude Network's providers not only know, but value. That level of individualized and respectful care is a constant throughout the network, so families across North America will receive the same inclusive and customized attention as a family in New York.

The detailed and customized attention pays off for the caring staff as well as for the families they help guide through the process.

"A lot of my couples will come into the office when the baby's born, and so we actually get to meet the babies," Dr. McCarthy says with evident enthusiasm. "And then a lot of them are coming back for their second baby, or their third baby. Honestly, that right there is the best part of my job – when somebody brings their baby in to meet us, the whole team will come out. Everybody's so excited. It's just the best, because you can see the change in in them. They went from being a person to being a parent.... it's just the coolest thing to watch."

The Prelude Network understands above all that what makes for a healthy home and a happy family is love. It's with a deep respect for that love that The Prelude Network helps families like yours fulfill their dreams of parenthood.

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

This story is part of our special report: "Inception Fertility". Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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