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Reciprocal IVF for Lesbian Couples

Reciprocal IVF as an LGBT fertility option

Lesbian couples who choose to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) at our Virginia fertility center can both share a biological bond with their child through reciprocal IVF. Reciprocal IVF involves retrieving eggs from one partner, which are fertilized in the lab with donor sperm. Once the fertilized eggs develop into embryos, our physician transfers one of them to the other partner’s uterus.

Reciprocal IVF explained

Fertility treatments at our Virginia fertility center begin with testing to confirm that the woman who will carry the baby is healthy enough to support a pregnancy. We also want to ensure that the woman who is providing her eggs is healthy and likely to have high-quality eggs. This is important because the genetic material within a woman’s eggs can deteriorate over time, or be compromised by cancer treatment, injuries or illnesses that affect the ovaries. Once both hopeful mothers have been cleared, the process continues as follows.

  • Birth control pills. We prescribe birth control pills to synchronize the cycles of both women, so that the woman who is carrying the baby will be biologically ready to do so after her partner’s egg retrieval.
  • Fertility medications. We give fertility medications to both women. We give the partner who will carry the pregnancy medication to prepare her body for pregnancy. We give the woman who will provide the eggs medication to induce the ovulation of multiple eggs.
  • Egg retrieval. When the eggs have matured within the ovaries and are ready for retrieval, our physician sedates the woman and retrieves her eggs using a hollow needle guided by transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Fertilization. After the egg retrieval, we take the eggs to the laboratory where our embryologists will combine them with donor sperm for fertilization. The fertilized eggs develop into embryos in the laboratory and our embryologists closely monitor them.
  • Embryo transfer. We transfer a healthy embryo to the partner who will carry the pregnancy.

The process of reciprocal IVF at our Virginia fertility center is very similar to the process of egg donation. The main difference is the two women involved have a personal relationship rather than a donor arrangement. Patients who wish to pursue reciprocal IVF may need a reproductive lawyer to help iron out the legal rights and responsibilities of both hopeful mothers.

Hope for every family

At our Virginia fertility center, we are proud to provide fertility support to all our patients. We understand the physical and emotional challenges that go along with fertility treatment. Our team will walk with you on every step of your family’s journey.

To learn more about reciprocal IVF, please contact our office.