When opposite sex couples decide to have a child through IVF each partner’s role is obvious. The female partner will supply the egg and carry the baby (when possible), the male partner will supply the sperm (also when possible). However, when same sex couples decide to have a child they have decisions to make about what role each partner will play in the procedure.
Reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples
If the same sex couple are both female, then the couple must make a decision about which role each partner plays. If both partners are able to do either role, then they must make the decision of who provides the egg and who carries the baby. This is a big decision for a lesbian couple to make.
In reciprocal IVF one female partner will provide the eggs for transplant while the other female partner will carry and give birth to the child. In this way both parents can feel a strong emotional bond to the child, more so than using a surrogate for either role.
How it’s done
If reciprocal IVF is the chosen procedure the doctor may start by synching the partner’s menstrual cycles. The egg donor partner will be given fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce eggs. These eggs will be fertilized by donor sperm and transplanted into the other partner’s uterus.
The partner who will be carrying the baby will be prepared for embryo transplant. When the embryos are ready for transplant the fertility specialist will implant a certain number of embryos into her uterus that was determined at an earlier time.
Any remaining embryos can be frozen for future cycles or donation. If the procedure is successful pregnancy will result. If the first procedure is not successful they can repeat the process with the remaining frozen embryos.