For some couples each partner wishes to participate as fully as possible in the miracle of creating their child. Reciprocal In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an option for couples in which each partner has ‘female’ reproductive anatomy – ovaries, eggs, uterus. With reciprocal IVF, one partner provides the eggs and the other carries the pregnancy. Donor sperm is used to fertilize the eggs that have been retrieved from one partner and the resulting embryo(s) are then transferred to the other partner’s uterus.
The partner providing the eggs (egg donor partner) will be screened for health conditions, including genetic and infectious diseases. Injectable hormone medications will be used to help the ovaries to produce more eggs than the typical (one egg in a cycle). The eggs will be retrieved and inseminated to form embryos.
The partner who will carry the pregnancy (gestational partner) will also take medications to synchronize the uterine lining with the egg donor partner’s ovulatory cycle. Careful timing helps ensure that both partners’ bodies are in sync and ready for a fresh embryo transfer. If for any reason such synchronization isn’t possible, the embryos will be cryopreserved (frozen) and used in a later cycle.