What Is Reciprocal IVF? Can it Help Trans and Non-Binary Couples? By Michael Vermesh on February 22, 2024

reciprocal IVF for the LGBTQ communityFertility specialists at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology, which serves Los AngelesTarzana, and BakersfieldCA, believe everyone deserves to build their desired family. Our fertility specialists offer LGBTQIA+ family planning to help gay, lesbian, trans, and non-binary patients find the fertility treatment best suited to their unique needs and desires.

Reciprocal IVF for lesbians is a popular procedure that allows both women in a lesbian couple to have a biological connection to their child and IVF treatment. Here, we explain reciprocal IVF and how it can also help trans and non-binary couples on their journey to parenthood.

What Is Reciprocal IVF?

Reciprocal IVF is also known as co-IVF or co-maternity IVF. Treatment follows the same multi-step procedure as traditional IVF:

  1. Ovarian stimulation - The doctor prescribes the egg donor or intended mother fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries and encourage the release of multiple mature eggs
  2. Egg retrieval - Doctors retrieve mature eggs from an egg donor or the intended mother through a minimally invasive procedure
  3. Sperm collection - We receive a collection of sperm from a sperm donor or the intended father
  4. Fertilization - Embryologists mix sperm and eggs in a laboratory setting, where they fertilize
  5. Embryo selection - Doctors observe fertilized eggs and select a viable embryo or embryos for transfer
  6. Embryo transfer - Selected embryos are transferred into the uterus of a surrogate or the intended mother in hopes of successful implantation and pregnancy

The difference between traditional IVF and reciprocal IVF is that reciprocal IVF allows for the participation of two female partners or two partners with female genetic material. In reciprocal IVF treatment, one partner serves as the egg donor, and the other serves as the gestational surrogate who carries the pregnancy.

Can Trans and Non-binary Couples Undergo Reciprocal IVF?

Reciprocal IVF is a viable option for lesbian, trans males, and non-binary couples. If one member of the partnership can donate eggs and the other can undergo embryo transfer, both can be active participants in reciprocal IVF treatment. Reciprocal IVF allows both partners to profoundly impact the child’s development, with one contributing to the genetic material and one providing the gestational environment.

Reciprocal IVF Considerations

Many lesbian, trans, and non-binary couples pursue reciprocal IVF due to its inclusivity for both partners. When preparing to undergo reciprocal IVF, there are some considerations and preparatory steps, including:

  • Medical and reproductive evaluation - Both partners must undergo a medical and reproductive evaluation to determine their eligibility for treatment.
  • Choosing reciprocal IVF roles - Partners must carefully consider each partner’s role in IVF, either the egg donor or gestational carrier. This decision may be made based on medical and reproductive health, personal preference, or roles in a previous reciprocal IVF cycle (partners who have undergone reciprocal IVF previously may switch roles so they each get to experience both roles).
  • Selecting a sperm donor - Couples should put careful thought into selecting a sperm donor. Some choose a known donor, and others work with a donor from a sperm bank.

Contact Our Fertility Center

Fertility specialists at the Center for Fertility and Gynecology are happy to assist LGBT patients with family planning. To learn more about reciprocal IVF or other fertility services offered at our practice, contact our fertility center online and schedule a consultation at your earliest convenience.

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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

The Center for Fertility and Gynecology provides cutting-edge medical care in a patient-oriented and supportive setting. Drs. Michael Vermesh and Tannaz Toloubeydokhti offer all couples the best possible evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of male and female infertility. Our experienced physicians are affiliated with:

  • American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists
  • ACOG: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Medical Association
  • ASRM: American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Pacific Coast Reproductive Society
  • Resolve: The National Infertility Association
  • SREI: Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
  • The Seed Fertility Program

Ready to start your family? Request your consultation today by filling out our online form or calling (818) 881-9800.

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