If you are in a same sex relationship and are ready to start your family, you may want to consider shared motherhood or reciprocal IVF. Shared motherhood allows for you both to be involved in the treatment process and for you both to have a biological or gestational link to your child or children.
So how does it work?
One partner will be the egg provider and the other will be the egg recipient. The egg provider will go through a stimulation cycle in order to stimulate her ovaries for the follicles to grow and mature (follicles are the fluid filled sacs that contain our eggs). When those follicles are the right size, an egg collection will take place and the eggs will be fertilised (usually by IVF) with either the sperm of a known or unknown donor to create embryos.
The egg recipient partner will undergo an embryo transfer and this can take place in a natural cycle or with some medication to ensure the womb lining is optimal for implantation to take place, she will then carry the pregnancy. With this type of treatment, there will often be more than one embryo created so you both have the option of storing your excess embryos at the clinic for future use and to grow your family.
If you are considering shared motherhood & IVF, then you will both be required to undergo some routine screening and investigations and the egg provider will be registered as a donor with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).
You will both be the legal parents of your child or children when going through shared motherhood. If you are not married or civil partnered, then there will be some consent forms that the clinic will complete with you to support you when you are registering the birth of your child or children.
For more information about shared motherhood and fertility treatment options for lesbian couples, you might find the following helpful:
This content on Surrogacy was provided by Francesca Steyn RGN
Francesca is a Fertility Nurse Consultant with a special interest in Surrogacy and LGBTQ+ parenting options. She has held senior positions at a number of fertility clinics and was awarded surrogacy professional of the year in 2018 and 2019. Francesca is a steering committee member for the Royal College of Nurses Fertility Nursing Forum and was also an active member of the Senior Infertility Nurses Group.