All About Reciprocal IVF for Same-Sex Female Couples

Jun 01, 2023
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Reciprocal IVF provides an option for same-sex female couples to conceive a biological child together, without the need for donor eggs. See how advanced INVOcell technology empowers you to become parents.

As medicine and society become more inclusive for the LGBTQIA+ community, new ways for same-sex couples to have children have emerged. Although adoption is always a choice, same-sex female couples who want to have their own biological children now have reciprocal IVF as a fertility option.

At effortless IVF in Bedford and Fort Worth, Texas, our expert fertility specialists, Drs. Kevin and Kathy Doody, Dr. Anna Nackley, and Dr. Robin Thomas, offer the following information about reciprocal IVF.

What is reciprocal IVF?

In reciprocal IVF, both women participate in the process, removing the need for donor eggs. Before starting reciprocal IVF, the partner who plans to undergo egg retrieval has her eggs assessed, and the partner who plans to carry the baby has her uterus assessed. 

What is reciprocal effortless IVF?

In 2017, effortless IVF added reciprocal IVF to the effortless IVF process, making it easier than ever for same-sex female couples to have children together. 

Requirements for partners undergoing reciprocal effortless IVF

The partner who plans to undergo egg retrieval must meet the following requirements:

  • Weight under 190 pounds; BMI less than 35
  • AMH of 0.8 or greater on two occasions using Roche assay
  • Total antral follicles of 8 or greater
  • No significant health or medical issues

The partner who plans to carry the baby to term must have a BMI less than 40 and no significant medical issues. The gestational partner must also undergo several uterine evaluations, with HSG testing, transvaginal pelvic ultrasounds, and hysteroscopy.

The donor sperm may be a sample from a sperm bank for ICI (intracervical insemination), or a sample from a personal acquaintance who has agreed to be the sperm donor. 

The reciprocal effortless IVF process

The reciprocal effortless IVF process works much like the regular effortless IVF process. First, the egg donating partner has her ovaries stimulated, and our team extracts several eggs. Once the eggs are extracted, we fertilize them with the donor sperm and place them inside an INVOcell.  

Our team then sets the INVOcell inside the vagina of the partner from whom we first took the eggs. It remains there for five days during early embryo development. After those five days, our team removes and freezes the embryo. 

The partner who plans to carry the baby begins taking estrogen during her next menstrual cycle. Our team works with both partners to decide when it’s the right time to transfer the embryo and begin the pregnancy. 

Our team does not perform any sonograms during this process, and most couples only transfer one embryo, per ASRM/SART guidelines

If you and your partner want to learn more about reciprocal IVF or reciprocal effortless IVF and begin your journey toward growing your family, our team at CARE Fertility is here to help. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online at your nearest office in Fort Worth or Bedford, Texas, today.