In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a popular solution for couples who are dealing with infertility. Traditional IVF allows male and female partners to conceive and carry a baby with genetic links to each partner. Fortunately, IVF can also be a great treatment option for same-sex couples.
At Houston Fertility Center, we are proud to offer reciprocal IVF. Reciprocal IVF allows both partners in a lesbian relationship to have a physical connection to the conception process. Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is happy to discuss reciprocal IVF with our Houston, TX, patients, as well as prepare them for how long reciprocal IVF takes.
What is Reciprocal IVF?
Before we go into how long reciprocal IVF treatment takes, it is important for patients to know exactly what this treatment entails. Reciprocal IVF treatment is similar to traditional IVF treatment. Female eggs are harvested and collected so that they can be fertilized in our laboratory. Mature embryos are then selected for transfer. Embryos are implanted directly into a woman’s uterus where, the hope is, they will implant and result in a successful pregnancy.
In a traditional IVF procedure, it is common for the female partner to provide the eggs, and the male partner to provide the sperm. The female partner would then carry the embryos. In a lesbian relationship, we want both partners to play a physical role in the conception process. During reciprocal IVF treatment, one female partner donates her eggs, and the other female partner carries the embryos (which have been fertilized by a sperm donor).
The Treatment Timeline
Because the basic aspects of reciprocal IVF do not vary from traditional IVF treatment, the timeline should be the same for our Houston patients.
- Ovarian stimulation - Reciprocal IVF begins with ovarian stimulation. Patients will take prescribed fertility drugs for one to two weeks to stimulate the ovaries so that they produce multiple mature eggs.
- Egg retrieval - After eggs have matured, patients will be given a trigger shot that causes the eggs to fully mature so that they are ready for retrieval. Egg retrieval will take place roughly 36 hours after the trigger shot.
- Fertilization - An embryologist will take fertilized eggs and combine them with sperm collected from the sperm donor. Eggs and sperm are incubated. Over the next several days, we will monitor fertilized embryos. Either three or five days after eggs have been fertilized, healthy embryos will be selected for embryo transfer.
- Embryo transfer - On the day of embryo transfer, between one and five embryos will be inserted directly into the uterus via a soft catheter. If treatment is a success, the embryo(s) will implant to the uterine wall, resulting in pregnancy.
There are several factors that can alter the IVF treatment timeline slightly for each patient. However, in general, it should take between four and six weeks for our patients to complete one cycle of reciprocal IVF treatment.
Reciprocal IVF is one of the many fertility treatments offered to our LGBT patients at the Houston Fertility Center. To learn how we can help you build your family, send us a message online at your earliest convenience or call (713) 862-6181 to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Sonja Kristiansen.