Fertility Answers - Helping Build Families

Reciprocal IVF for Lesbian Couples

Reciprocal IVF is a life-changing fertility treatment for lesbian couples

The team at our Louisiana fertility center offers many LGBT fertility treatment options to lesbian couples. One of the most unique is reciprocal IVF. Sometimes called partner IVF, this exciting option allows both partners to be physically involved in their child’s conception and birth.

Understanding the basics of reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF is becoming more popular with lesbian couples because it allows both women to play a vital role in welcoming their child into the world. Many couples feel that this strengthens their bonds with their child and each other.

In reciprocal IVF at our Louisiana fertility center, one partner provides the eggs for the IVF cycle and the other carries the pregnancy. Our team will use birth control pills to synchronize the menstrual cycles of both partners, so they are ready for treatment at the same time.

The partner who is donating her eggs undergoes ovarian stimulation to produce multiple eggs. One of our physicians then retrieves the eggs from her ovaries and our embryologists fertilize the eggs with donor sperm to create embryos in the laboratory. The partner who will carry the pregnancy undergoes a fresh or frozen embryo transfer, typically with a single embryo. If all goes well, an embryo will implant in her uterus and develop into a healthy baby. Patients can freeze and store any extra embryos for several years.

The cost of reciprocal IVF is similar to the cost of an IVF cycle with a known egg donor. However, the cost depends on whether the patients want to undergo a fresh or frozen embryo transfer as well as whether they are interested in genetic testing.

Deciding the roles in reciprocal IVF

If both partners are healthy and do not have fertility issues, either one can be the egg donor or carry the pregnancy. Sometimes, partners who don’t have fertility issues will reverse their donor and carrier roles for a second child. This allows them to each share a biological relationship with their children, as well as experience pregnancy and childbirth.

However, the team at our Louisiana fertility center wants to stress that, if one partner is younger and has a better egg supply, she is usually the better choice to donate her eggs. This is because egg quality and age do not affect a woman’s ability to carry a pregnancy.

Handling legal issues in reciprocal IVF

Legal issues related to reciprocal IVF are complex and vary by state. The team at our Louisiana fertility center recommends finding an attorney who specializes in reproductive law, specifically IVF and same-sex parenting issues. Such an attorney can help draft an agreement that outlines parental rights and whether one partner will need to legally adopt the baby.

Thanks to the wonders of advanced reproductive medicine, lesbian couples can utilize reciprocal IVF to share the joys of pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood. Contact us to learn more about LGBT fertility and schedule an appointment with our Louisiana fertility center.