Building a family through reciprocal IVF
After Chelsey and Jami were married in 2017, they knew they wanted to start a family and quickly came across reciprocal IVF. This fertility treatment allows same-sex female couples to share in the joy of pregnancy. One woman takes fertility medications and undergoes egg retrieval to provide the eggs for IVF. The other woman then undergoes an embryo transfer to carry the pregnancy.
They found this to be one of the best options for same-sex female couples, as it was a way that they could both play a part in building their family. This option was also ideal, as Jami never had a desire to be pregnant, while Chelsey yearned to have the experience.
After fertility testing, the couple discovered Jami had diminished ovarian reserve, with few follicles on either side. She was encouraged to have an egg retrieval as soon as possible. Jami followed this guidance and started ovulation induction medications.
During the cycle, Jami had a unique way of moving past physical and emotional challenges, saying, “When we started to look into reciprocal IVF one of our friends said we should check out the YouTube channel of a same-sex couple who chronicled their journey through this form of IVF. These videos talked me into being willing to go through an egg retrieval, as I’m a big wuss when it comes to pain.”
Beyond watching these YouTube videos, Jami and Chelsey were inspired to start their own channel to share their journey with other couples needing insight into this method of building a family. “As strange as it sounds, making those videos for our viewers helped me push through blocks as I experienced hormone shifts and other challenges leading up to the egg retrieval,” says Jami.
Despite Jami’s initial nerves, the egg retrieval was successful, with 19 eggs retrieved, 15 matured and 10 fertilized with donor sperm. They ended up with three embryos, which they discovered were all chromosomally normal after utilizing preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). In January of 2018, they had one embryo transferred to Chelsey’s uterus after she took medications to prepare her uterus for pregnancy. Their son Emmett was born eight months later.
Finding support for reciprocal IVF at our Las Vegas fertility clinic
Before landing at our Las Vegas fertility clinic, Jami and Chelsey visited another fertility center. Unfortunately, their experience was very confusing and impersonal, with the clinic recommending various procedures they later discovered would have been unnecessary. “I felt like we were just a number to them,” says Jami.
Soon after, the couple found our Las Vegas fertility clinic after attending a seminar. They then met with Bruce Shapiro MD who they found very warm and welcoming. “I had a lot of questions about the process and Dr. Shapiro always took the time to listen and answer. He made me feel safe,” Jami recalls. They were also pleased with how thorough he was with explanations of reciprocal IVF.
“Dr. Shapiro was genuinely excited for us and enthusiastic each time we saw him. He made us feel supported each step of the way,” the women shared.
They think upon their time at the clinic fondly, saying how welcoming the staff was and how clear everyone was about every part of the process. “They made us feel like we were part of their family. From the coordinators to the office staff, everyone was friendly and inclusive,” the couple says.
Jami is especially grateful for Christie and Katie in the IVF Department, saying, “They were our coordinators and total life-savers when I was nearing the end of my cycle. I was having a hard time and they gave me empathy and made me feel understood. I can’t say enough good things about them and the entire staff – they really know what they’re doing.”
Trusting the process
When asked if they have any advice for other hopeful parents moving through reciprocal IVF, their answer was unanimous, “Trust the process.”
As Chelsey said, “The egg retrieval was the trickiest part for us, with Jami needing to be on ovulation induction medications for 17 days, when we only expected around 7 to 10. There were really hard moments. But trusting our doctor and knowing that he was doing everything he needed to do to help us achieve our dream of parenthood kept us going.”
Jami echoed this sentiment, urging women and men to keep the faith and know that the fertility specialists at our Las Vegas fertility clinic have the patients’ best interest at heart when making decisions.
With their son now 10 months old, Chelsey and Jami recently met with Dr. Shapiro about transferring one of their remaining two embryos and beginning the process of becoming pregnant with #2.
Contact us for more information about reciprocal IVF.