In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

Getting Started with Reciprocal IVF

Getting Started with Reciprocal IVF

Building a family can be one of life’s greatest joys. One of the most rewarding and beautiful parts is that happy families come in many forms. At the Fertility Centers of New England, our mission is to help create happy families regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are here to help provide options to consider when starting your family, including getting started with reciprocal IVF.

Reciprocal IVF or Partner Assisted Reproduction (PAR), where the eggs from one partner are harvested and fertilized, and then transferred into the other partner to carry the baby, is a great option for lesbian family building. This allows both partners to share in the experience.

Deciding to start a family can be an exciting moment. To help you get started, we’ll walk you through some of the initial steps and questions you may have when considering reciprocal IVF.

How does Reciprocal IVF Work?

Reciprocal IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a method of family building used by couples who have female reproductive organs. The eggs of one partner are inseminated with sperm and a resulting embryo is transferred into the uterus of the other partner. Additional embryos can be vitrified (frozen) for later use by either partner. This method is identical to IVF with egg donation. One partner supplies the eggs and the other partner carries their baby.

Much like standard IVF, there are five main steps:

  • Ovarian stimulation, where you’ll take synthetic hormones to stimulate your ovaries to create multiple eggs
  • Egg retrieval
  • Insemination of the oocytes, which is done in a laboratory by either standard insemination (SI) or, in certain circumstances, by Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Embryo transfer, in which the eggs from one partner will be guided into the uterus of the other through a brief, non-invasive procedure
  • Blood pregnancy test, which is done approximately 10 days after the embryo transfer

Additionally, couples can use frozen eggs if they have already taken that course of action in the past.

How Do You Pick Who is the Donor and the Carrier?

This can depend! There’s no hard or fast rule when it comes to this decision. By working with a fertility doctor, you can see each partner’s unique situation and help determine if there are any advantages for one partner to take a certain role. In general, the younger partner or the one who has a better ovarian reserve may be the ideal donor candidate, while the other partner might be better suited to carry the child. If you and your partner have a preference, your doctor will work with you to make that dream a reality.

How are Both Partners Biologically Connected to the Baby?

A study found that the uterine environment may influence how genes are expressed and regulated thanks to molecules known as microRNAs. These are secreted from the uterine lining, acting as a communication system between the pregnant parent and developing child. Additionally, the pregnant partner can create a powerful connection through pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding.

What’s the Success Rate with Reciprocal IVF?

Overall, the success rate for Reciprocal IVF is relatively high for lesbian or transgender couples. One study found that 60% of Reciprocal IVF couples achieved pregnancy, but this rate could be higher. Each couple is unique, and your doctor will work closely with you and your partner to help achieve pregnancy.

How Much Does Reciprocal IVF Cost?

The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology reports that the average cost in the U.S. for IVF is between $10,000-$15,000. Depending on the state you live in or the type of insurance you have, the cost can vary. There may be additional expenses as well, such as those incurred for sperm donation. To learn more about factors that aid in determining the cost of Reciprocal IVF or other related family building options, download our guide.

We’re Here to Help

At the Fertility Centers of New England, we’re committed to helping you create a healthy family by providing the individualized expertise you need and the compassionate support you deserve. If you have more questions on how to get started with reciprocal IVF, contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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