Reciprocal IVF allows both mothers to play a role in pregnancy
Lesbian mothers are often surprised to learn that they have multiple family-building options. The Fertility Center of Las Vegas (FCLV) can help patients conceive using donor sperm IUI and donor sperm IVF. Not only that, our Las Vegas fertility clinic also offers reciprocal IVF to lesbian couples. Also known as co-maternity IVF or shared IVF, this exciting treatment allows both partners to take part in the pregnancy.
What is co-maternity IVF?
This LGBTQ fertility treatment is an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle that involves both female partners.
- One woman (the genetic mother) takes fertility medications and undergoes an egg retrieval procedure in order to provide her eggs for the pregnancy.
- Her partner (the birth mother) will undergo an embryo transfer and then carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby.
This arrangement allows both intended mothers to share a deep connection with their child. However, it’s important to ask several questions before starting the reciprocal IVF process as a lesbian couple.
- Which woman will provide her eggs?
- Who will carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby?
- Will you use a known or an anonymous sperm donor from a sperm bank?
These are highly personal decisions. However, the results of diagnostic testing and guidance from your doctor can help you determine which choices will give you the best chance of success.
What is involved in the process of reciprocal IVF?
Co-maternity IVF at our Las Vegas fertility clinic is similar to IVF for heterosexual couples. At FCLV, we typically divide the IVF cycle into two phases. Phase 1 involves ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval and fertilization before freezing the embryos. Phase 2 involves thawing and transferring an embryo. This process leads to higher cycle success rates, time for genetic testing, a higher birth weight for the baby and additional scheduling benefits.
Ovarian stimulation is the first step. The woman who is providing her eggs, or the genetic mother, will take medications to stimulate the development of multiple eggs. She will receive regular monitoring during this time to determine when her eggs are ready for retrieval.
Egg retrieval occurs when the genetic mother’s eggs are mature. This is a short, outpatient procedure that involves using suction and a tiny needle to remove the fluid and eggs from the ovarian follicles.
Laboratory fertilization and monitoring are the next steps. Our embryologists will fertilize the eggs with the donor sperm and monitor their growth and development in the lab. Most of the time, our team will freeze the resulting embryos. This allows us to avoid having to sync the mothers’ cycles and tends to produce better success rates. It also allows us to perform genetic testing on the embryos around Day 5, if requested.
Uterine lining preparation comes next. The woman who is carrying the pregnancy, also called the birth mother, will take estrogen and progesterone hormones to thicken her uterine lining for the embryo transfer. She will receive regular monitoring to determine when she is ready for the transfer.
Embryo transfer is the short process of using a catheter to place one of the embryos in the birth mother’s uterus. The goal is for the embryo to implant and develop into a pregnancy.
LGBTQ couples can turn to FCLV for help building their family
Our Las Vegas fertility clinic is an Oasis of Hope for LGBTQ patients, including lesbian couples who want to pursue reciprocal IVF. Contact us to learn more about co-maternity IVF or to schedule an appointment and get started.