Reciprocal IVF is a form of shared reproduction method that allows same-sex women couples to have a baby. In this arrangement one woman donates the egg, while the other carries the child i.e. the egg of one partner is fertilized with the donor’s sperm, while the other partner becomes the gestational carrier.
Although there is a number of options for couples who want to conceive, there are very limited option for lesbian couples. Reciprocal IVF is the only form of treatment that allows both the partners to be physically involved in the conception.
How does it work?
The process begins by coordinating the menstrual cycles of both the participants so that they are synchronized during the procedure.
The partner providing the eggs will go through the general protocol of IVF, where your ovaries are stimulated to bring about maturation of multiple eggs, which are then collected with the help of a small needle.
These eggs are then fertilized with donor sperm in vitro. The other partner will be given the necessary medications/supplements to prepare her uterine lining for receiving the embryo and then the embryos are transferred to her womb.
Which partner should provide the eggs?
The partner providing the eggs should pass a rigorous screening process of diseases such as hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia followed by a detailed reviewing of medical history, genetic records, blood testing, psychological, and physical evaluation.
More importantly, since the egg quality declines with age, the younger partner (if they are close to 35 years or more) should provide the eggs.
Age is not the only factor to determine the more suitable egg donor. More importantly, you both will be required to undergo some fertility tests before the treatment. Based on these results, you can discuss with the doctor about which partner would be more suitable to provide the eggs and who should be carrying the pregnancy.
Legal considerations for reciprocal IVF
Before you plan for reciprocal IVF, it is important to consider the associated legal guidelines.
It is important that both of you feel satisfied with the role you will be playing in the pregnancy and prepare for all consequences of the treatment.
Consider discussing the legal implications with an attorney who is well versed with reproductive law in that particular region.
Cost of reciprocal IVF
The costs of reciprocal IVF are similar to those of a regular IVF cycle, except you have to consider the cost of donor sperm.
The final cost will depend upon the donor profile you choose, and also varies somewhat with the amount of medication required for ovarian stimulation, which can vary from case to case.
Reciprocal IVF costs are between $4,000 – $6,000, depending upon the clinic and location you choose. This does not include donor sperm or any extra service.
Selecting your fertility clinic
There are a few things to keep in mind while selecting your fertility clinic:
- Doctor’s credentials– The qualification and experience of your doctor are the most important factors for the success of your treatment. Never compromise on this.
- Credibility of the clinic – Don’t just look for the cheapest clinic; look for one that has a good track record and high success rates in treating cases like yours
- Language – Does the doctor and staff speak your language? Do they have translators? Most of Infertility Aide partner clinics have English speaking staff and doctors; for other languages, translators can be arranged
- Reliability – The medical practice should be honest and transparent. Ask questions and make sure you understand the process well before enrolling.
- Affordability – Insurance coverage is non- existent; the affordability of the clinic should be taken into account while planning.
Reciprocal IVF in Europe
Reciprocal IVF is legally offered in some European countries such as Russia. Besides offering excellent quality service and high success rates, these places offer the advantage of lower prices for couples seeking fertility treatments.
Unlike other European nations that have strict legislative limitations, the laws here are quite liberal.
If you are planning for reciprocal IVF, you can certainly look towards these European destinations for some very affordable options.