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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

Reciprocal IVF for Lesbian Couples

Reciprocal IVF is a unique type of in-vitro fertilization which allows both partners in a lesbian couple to be involved in the conception of their child. At the Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, CA, we offer reciprocal IVF for lesbian couples as part of our extensive LGBT family planning services. Dr. Michael Vermesh and Dr. Tannaz Toloubeydokhti believe that every couple that wishes to create a family has the right to, regardless of orientation or marital status. Our doctors can discuss your treatment options with you and help you decide if reciprocal IVF is right for you.

How Reciprocal IVF Works

In this fertility treatment, one partner acts as egg donor, while the other fills the role of a gestational surrogate. Our doctors can harvest eggs from one partner, fertilize them using donor sperm, and then place the embryos into the other partner’s uterus. The benefit of this option is that it creates a powerful biological link between the child and both parents.

A lesbian couple: a woman with her arm around her pregnant partner
Reciprocal IVF gives both partners the opportunity to be involved in the conception of their child. 

Important Factors to Consider 

There are several factors you should consider when deciding which partner will take which role during reciprocal IVF, including:

  • Age: If there is a significant difference between your ages, your chances of successful conception may be higher with the younger partner’s eggs.
  • Medical history: A variety of medical and gynecological factors can influence your pregnancy. Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti can perform fertility testing to determine if anything in your medical history could affect the pregnancy.
  • Desire to experience pregnancy: Some women have stronger feelings about pregnancy and childbirth than others. You should discuss these feelings with your partner and medical team to decide whether this is the best route for both of you.
  • Future plans: Some couples plan to have multiple children through IVF. You may wish to take turns carrying the pregnancies or undergo IVF at the same time so you can share the experience of pregnancy together. 

Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti can sit down with you and discuss your preferences. It is important to keep in mind that reciprocal IVF is more expensive than normal IVF or intrauterine insemination (IUI) because both partners need to take fertility medication at the same time. In addition, insurance rarely covers this treatment option. If you are concerned about the cost of the procedure, we can discuss financing options with you to help limit your out-of-pocket costs.

You may wish to take turns carrying the pregnancies or undergo IVF at the same time so you can share the experience of pregnancy together. 

What to Expect during Treatment

During reciprocal IVF, you will need to synchronize your menstrual cycle with your partner so you are both ready for treatment at the same time. You also have the option to freeze embryos and transfer these frozen embryos into your partner's uterus when she is ready to begin treatment. The reciprocal IVF process is typically broken down into three steps:

  1. Ovarian stimulation: The partner donating eggs undergoes ovarian induction to produce multiple eggs.
  2. Fertilization: The eggs are extracted and fertilized with donor sperm in our lab. 
  3. Embryo transfer: While waiting for fertilization to occur, the partner who will carry the pregnancy begins taking medication to prepare for transfer. Dr. Vermesh or Toloubeydokhti will then place the agreed-upon number of embryos into her uterus.

If all goes well, an embryo implants into the uterus and grows into a baby. We can freeze any additional embryos for future pregnancies if you desire. 

Find Out if Reciprocal IVF Is Right for You

With this innovative treatment, you can create a unique biological bond between your child and both parents. If you are interested in pursuing reciprocal IVF, contact our practice online or call one of our convenient locations today. 

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