Reciprocal IVF ImageWhat is Reciprocal IVF?

Similar to the standard In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure, Reciprocal IVF is an option for lesbian couples and trans men- who have functional female reproductive organs, to participate in the actual IVF and gestation process.

Reciprocal IVF is also commonly referred to as partner IVF, partner-assisted reproduction, reception of oocytes from partner (ROPA), or co-maternity IVF.

How is Reciprocal IVF done?

Reciprocal IVF allows both partners to contribute equally in the IVF process. The first step begins with selecting a sperm donor. There are two forms of sperm donors: anonymous and known. In most situations, and to avoid any legal issues, anonymous sperm donors are used through the services of a sperm bank. In the case of using a “known” non-anonymous sperm donor, some individuals or couples will look for a sperm donor among people they may know personally.

Once a sperm donor has been selected, and that sample has been analyzed and screened, the next stage of the process will begin. Partner A, who will be the egg donor /genetic mother, will undergo an ovarian stimulation cycle and resulting retrieval. The retrieved eggs will then be fertilized with the donor sperm. Once an embryo has been created, Partner B, will then undergo an embryo transfer and act as the gestational carrier allowing both partners to have a biological and physical experience in building their family.

Before you consider Reciprocal IVF, there are questions that must be answered:

  • Which partner will be the egg donor?
  • Who will carry the pregnancy?
  • Will you be using an anonymous or known sperm donor?
  • Have you consulted a reproductive attorney to help you determine your individual state/country legalities?

You have options.

There are other options that are also similar to Reciprocal IVF which are: Concurrent IVF and Effortless IVF.

Concurrent IVF is where the couple will choose to both be pregnant at the same time where each partner will go through the IVF process and a synchronized embryo transfer using the embryos that were created from the opposite partner. Thus resulting in carrying the other partners biological baby at the same time. This option can pose challenges such as increased stress of managing multiple births, dual prenatal care, and postnatal care where both mothers are recovering simultaneously while caring for multiple newborns.

Effortless IVF is a procedure that involves an FDA approved device called INVOcell*. In this case, Partner A will combine her egg and donor sperm in a capsule called an INVOcell versus being cultured in a cryolab. The device is then inserted back into the vagina where it will act as its own incubator for 5 days where the embryo will develop. Once removed, the embryo{s) are likely frozen. Partner B will then prepare for a frozen embryo cycle where the embryo will be transferred and carried throughout the remaining gestation/pregnancy.

What are the legal issues associated with Reciprocal IVF?

When IVF is used with a third party (donor /gestational carrier) there will be some legal issues to navigate as well as working through implications that can vary from state to state and country to country. This is why it is important that both partners have recognized parental rights and parentage is established on the resulting baby’s birth certificate. An attorney whose focus is specific to reproductive law can help walk you through all your legal options.

Here you can find a list of professionals and experts.

*RESOLVE does not endorse or promote specific products. You should discuss all options with your doctor.