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Welcome to Fenway Health’s Alternative Insemination Program

Since 1983, Fenway Health has been an international pioneer in helping lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people become parents. Fenway was one of the first in the nation to offer alternative insemination services to lesbians. Today we continue to provide medical alternatives for achieving conception for the entire LGBT community, couples and singles of any sexual orientation, as well as education, resources, support networks, and referrals.

Since 2016, new families have the option of bringing their children to Fenway’s very own pediatric and family providers. Learn more about our Family Medicine program.

What is the Alternative Insemination (AI) Program?

The AI Program at Fenway Health offers office inseminations performed by medical practitioners as well as instruction for home inseminations. We create access to sperm banks’ frozen sperm specimens from anonymous donors, and provide education and information about ovulation prediction, the sperm bank choices, issues to consider when choosing to work with known or anonymous donors, legal issues for same sex and transgender couples, and resources for alternative families.

Why was the Alternative Insemination Program created?

Fenway Health’s AI Program was founded in 1983 to support lesbians and single women to get pregnant and create families through alternative insemination. At that time, lesbians were often denied access to sperm banks, whose services were only available to married heterosexual couples. Although this is no longer true today, it continues to be our goal to provide high quality AI services to all LGBT and single people in a most supportive and accessible environment.

How does the Alternative Insemination Program work?

There are several steps involved in Fenway’s Alternative AI Program, which serves those who are fertile and under the age of 44.

  1. The first step is to attend an AI Orientation, where we discuss the basics of fertility and reproductive health, methods of predicting ovulation, donor choices (known or anonymous), information on sperm banks, methods of insemination, and some of the emotional and legal issues to consider.
  2. Chart your menstrual cycles for 3 months by monitoring your basal body temperature (BBT). Concurrently, use an ovulation prediction kit for at least one cycle. Basal body thermometers and ovulation prediction kits are available at pharmacies and online. There are smart phone apps to track this information that many find helpful.
  3. Have a physical exam and the required lab tests done with your medical provider.
  4. Enroll in the AI Program through the Enrollment and Preconception Counseling visits. These appointments are usually scheduled on the same day for your convenience.
  5. Based on all the information we review with you, including your medical tests, we will grant you AI medical clearance. This gives you access to order sperm specimens from the sperm bank of your choice, and to schedule insemination appointments. In our office, you can review long profiles of any donor at any of the sperm banks with which we work closely.
  6. We will store the sperm specimens at Fenway. We provide office inseminations seven days a week.

Known Donor or Recipient Consultations

For those who are considering working with someone they know for sperm donations, i.e. a known donor, we offer education consultations. These are also appropriate for those who want to have a friend or relative, i.e. known recipient, conceive and give birth to their child. These consultations cover choices about and expectations of the relationships between the recipient, donor, partner(s) and child; legal implications; medical screening information; ovulation prediction and handling and insemination with fresh semen at home.

LGBT Family and Parenting Services

LGBT Family and Parenting Services provide education, support, information and referrals for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and single parents and prospective parents such as:

  • LGBT Considering Parenting Workshops or Consultations. For those couples and singles who want to discuss concerns and choices about becoming parents.
  • LGBT Parenting Workshops. Presentations, discussions, resources, support, and networking for LGBT parents.
  • Resources and referrals for LGBT parents, prospective parents, and children.

For more information, please contact Liz Coolidge at or 617.927.6243.

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“Meeting My Sperm-Donor Dad”

In February 2011, The Good Men Project Magazine featured a piece written by Ben Sommer, who was conceived through Fenway’s Alternative Insemination Program and raised by two lesbian moms. It tells the story of him meeting his sperm donor father. The story is published in two parts:

Black Dress Selling Casual House White Market Read Part 1 Read Part 2