Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization: What Lesbian Couples Have to Know

Reciprocal in vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the pregnancy options for lesbians to have a baby. This practice is usually called partner assisted reproduction. Reciprocal IVF in Spain for female couples in which both take part in the conception: one provides the eggs and the other carries the pregnancy. This procedure allows both women to take part in the journey toward motherhood.

How it Works

Reciprocal IVF is a kind of in vitro fertilization meant for lesbian couples who don’t have fertility problems. A partner’s eggs are inseminated with donor sperm and the resulting embryos are transferred to the other partner who will conceive the child. Both women will have to decide on their roles in this procedure. But, doctors usually recommend that the donor eggs come from the youngest partner. The reason is that egg quality tends to diminish with age. The women who will conceive the child must have a normal uterine cavity without any anomalies which can have negative effects on pregnancy and embryo development.

Steps Involved

A reciprocal IVF procedure involves the steps below:

  • Ovulation induction. This involves the egg donor taking fertility medications to induce egg production in one cycle. The treatment usually lasts from ten to twelve days. While the partner is on treatment, she will need to regularly visit her doctor to get her ovarian development monitored through ultrasound and schedule egg collection.
  • Egg retrieval. By aspiration, the oocytes are retrieved from the ovaries. This procedure takes around thirty minutes and is performed under mild anesthesia.
  • Egg insemination. The retrieved matured eggs are fertilized with donor sperm. The physical and immunological compatibility of the candidate with the recipient is considered.
  • Embryo culture. Once the eggs are fertilized and inseminated, they will be chosen and cultured for between three and six days.
  • Endometrial preparation. In this procedure, the bearer of the child goes through hormonal treatment with progesterone and estrogens to trigger endometrial development. This is to ensure the development reaches the appropriate thickness and pattern for embryo implantation.

  • Embryo transfer. After ensuring the uterine lining is receptive, the highest quality embryo is chosen and placed in the uterine cavity.
  • This process is the preservation of unused embryos for future cycles in case the first attempt fails or the lesbian couple wants to have more children. To confirm whether or not the in vitro fertilization is successful, the beta-hCG hormone levels are checked within fifteen days after the embryo transfer.