Reciprocal IVF Procedure Explained

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Lesbian and Trans Men Couples Unique Options to Having Children 

 Its 2020 and there are so many different options for family building.  One of these options is Reciprocal IVF, otherwise known as shared motherhood or partner IVF.  Reciprocal IVF is the process where both femaleborn partners can participate biologically in a pregnancy. 

How does it work?   

With traditional IVF, we use hormonal medications to stimulate the ovaries to grow eggs. The eggs are then retrieved from the body whilthe patient is asleep and under anesthesia.  Next, the sperm is mixed with the eggs in the IVF laboratory.  The fertilized eggs are then nurtured in the lab for 5 days.  Once the embryos are mature and the uterine lining is ready, the embryo(s) is gently placed at the top of the uterus using a very small catheter. Embryos may be genetically tested (preimplantation genetic testing) prior to being transferred.  They can also be frozen for future use.  

With reciprocal IVF, the process is the same except one partner goes through egg stimulation and retrieval.  Just like with traditional IVF, sperm is mixed with the eggs, and embryos are formed and grown in the laboratory for 5 days.  Now, once the embryos are mature, they are transferred into the other partner.  Usually the embryos are frozen while the partner’s uterus is prepared for the embryo transfer.  Of course, embryos can still be genetically tested before transfer.  The partner then carries the pregnancy and delivers the baby.  By utilizing reciprocal IVF, both partners are now biologically involved in the pregnancy.  One acts as the egg donor, the other as the surrogate, or gestational carrier.  

How do you decide which partner plays which role?   

This is a great question and really depends on the couple and their wishes.  In some couples, only one partner wants to go through an egg retrieval or carry the pregnancy so that can make the decision easier.  Sometimes both partners are up for both tasks.  In general, younger eggs will lead to better quality eggs and higher success rates.  Of course, you also need a normal uterus in a healthy woman to carry the pregnancy as well.  Your fertility specialist will want to do an evaluation for both partners to help determine the best path forward. 

Reciprocal IVF in Orange County

This fertility blog post was written by Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz, RHWC Founder, who has been a proud supporter of the LGBTQIA fertility for over 10 years.  Reproductive Health and Wellness Center is passionate that modern LGBTQIA families are able to start building their families together. For a free LGBTQIA or reciprocal IVF consultation call or text 949-516-0606

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