Reciprocal IVF

USC Fertility helps lesbian couples build their families with reciprocal IVF

With more than 20 years of fertility treatment expertise, the team of physicians at USC Fertility is proud to guide and assist LGBT couples with building their families and contribute to the academic research that furthers the advancement of fertility treatments for everyone.

Understanding the basics of reciprocal IVF

Reciprocal IVF can be easily understood as a variation of IVF, during which the egg is removed from the woman’s body, fertilized outside of the body and then transferred back into the uterus. With reciprocal IVF, the embryo is transferred into the uterus of the other partner, instead of the egg donor, thereby allowing both partners to be physically invested in the baby-making process.

Choosing the gestational carrier

If one partner is over the age of 35, the eggs of the younger partner are usually chosen to avoid pregnancy complications for both mother and child. After IVF laboratory fertilization of the eggs, one or two of the most viable embryos are transferred into the uterus of the other partner who will carry the baby to term.

This partner, the gestational carrier, is given hormonal treatments to encourage the embryo to implant itself in the uterine lining during the luteal phase, or the phase between ovulation and a period. If this succeeds, then the couple may happily begin prenatal care.

Determining the timing of the pregnancy

Couples who choose reciprocal IVF as a fertility treatment can immediately transfer the embryo or embryos into the prospective mother (in three to five days), or they can opt to freeze the embryos for use at a later date. Lesbian couples who want to start their pregnancy right after IVF must both take hormonal medication to sync their menstrual cycles at the beginning of this process.

Some couples freeze their embryos due to lifestyle commitments, career choices or health situations that would affect the baby’s development. Frozen embryos can remain viable for the couple for many years to come.

Deciding on pregnancy roles in reciprocal IVF

In planning families with more than one child, the roles of a lesbian couple using reciprocal IVF can be reversed for the second child so that both partners can experience pregnancy. Also, each partner contributes genetic material to one child.

If only one partner desires to experience pregnancy, then this decision is easily made. Sometimes, the only decision to be made simply involves “who goes first.”

Starting the reciprocal IVF journey with USC Fertility

Here at USC Fertility, our team of fertility experts guides you through the process of deciding whether reciprocal IVF is the most appropriate treatment for you and your partner. Our medical staff works closely with you to answer all of your questions, assess your health factors and cheer you on as you embark on one of the most important journeys of your lives: motherhood.

Contact USC Fertility today to learn more about how reciprocal IVF can help you start and expand your growing family.


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