Thanks to reciprocal IVF, lesbian couples are able to experience the joys of pregnancy and motherhood. This variation on traditional IVF involves one mother having her eggs fertilized in a lab setting while her partner gets to carry the fertilized eggs to term. It’s a wonderful process that builds even deeper connection between same-sex parents since they are both participants in this journey.
Dr. Sonja Kristiansen can explain the various benefits of reciprocal IVF during a consultation at her Houston, TX fertility center. Right now, we would like to provide a treatment timeline for reciprocal IVF, which will give you a good idea of the preparation involved and the importance of timing in fertility treatments.
Timing Cycles for Optimal Results
To ensure success, it’s important that fertility doctors sync up the cycles of both mothers. This is done with fertility drugs and careful monitoring of the mothers during their cycles.
While this is getting ahead of ourselves, we want to note that women’s cycles can vary. Given this reality, it is possible to preserve a viable embryo from one mother and transfer it to her partner in a separate IVF cycle should timing problems become a factor.
Day 1: Initial Testing
The initial testing is performed at Houston Fertility Center to get a sense of hormone levels and to figure out the proper dosage of fertility drugs required for each mother.
The Next 2-4 Weeks: Ovarian Suppression
Before initiating the IVF procedure, a period of ovarian suppression is performed just to ensure proper regulation of hormones. Think of this as a way to set the clock at zero.
1-12 Days After Suppression: Ovarian Stimulation and Ovulation Induction
As the IVF process starts, fertility medications are administered to help the mother providing the eggs develop healthy, mature, viable follicles.
About 8-12 days after the initial fertility drug injection, there should be enough follicles that are ready. Ovulation is then induced by injecting other types of fertility drugs.
36 Hours After Ovulation Induction: Egg Retrieval and Fertilization
About 36 hours after ovulation has been triggered, fertility doctors can then retrieve viable eggs from a mother. These eggs are then fertilized in a lab setting. Donor sperm is used to do this, and the mothers will be able to pick the ideal donor by considering his physical characteristics, educational background, and so forth.
3-5 Days After Fertilization: Embryo Transfer
A few days after fertilization in the lab, the egg will undergo cellular division, becoming an embryo. This embryo can then be transferred to the uterus of the other mother. Fertility drugs will be used to ensure the other mother’s uterus develops a healthy lining, which makes implantation and pregnancy more likely.
2 Weeks After Embryo Transfer: Official Pregnancy Test
Couples will have to wait two weeks for an official blood test to determine pregnancy. Be sure to avoid at-home pregnancy tests as these can lead to false positives or false negatives.
Learn More About Reciprocal IVF
For more information about reciprocal IVF and other options for family building, contact our state-of-the-art fertility treatment clinic. You can schedule a consolation at the Houston Fertility Center by calling (713) 862-6181.