Reciprocal IVF

Reviewed by Dr. Temeka Zore OB/GYN, REICheckmark
Published: August 26, 2017

What Does Reciprocal IVF Mean?

Reciprocal IVF is a method of in vitro fertilization (IVF) that allows both partners of a lesbian couple to have a physiological connection to their baby.

In this scenario, the eggs of Partner A would be retrieved and inseminated with donor sperm. The resulting embryo(s) would then be transferred to Partner B's uterus in the hope that implantation will occur. Partner B would then carry the pregnancy and give birth to the baby.

Reciprocal IVF is also called partner IVF, partner-assisted reproduction or reception of oocytes from partner (ROPA).

FertilitySmarts Explains Reciprocal IVF

The process of reciprocal IVF is almost identical to that of standard IVF, but the partners divide and share the steps allowing both to be physically involved in the conception of their child. Because of their distinct roles in the process of conception, each partner would undergo different procedures.

Genetic Parent

  • The partner providing the eggs would take hormonal medications to stimulate their ovaries to mature multiple follicles.
  • Once mature, a vaginal ultrasound-guided procedure would be performed to retrieve the eggs released from the mature follicles.
  • The mature eggs would be fertilized with donor sperm, and the resulting embryos would grow for 5-6 days.
  • Morphologically normal embryos would then be frozen in the embryology lab while Partner B starts their process.

Birth Parent

  • The endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) of the partner carrying the pregnancy needs to thicken to prepare for implantation. They may need to take hormonal medications to aid in this process.
  • The embryo is transferred to the uterus.
  • If embryo implantation is successful, the partner will become the gestational carrier of the child.

Reciprocal IVF Diagram


Partner IVF

Reception of Oocytes From Partner

Partner-Assisted Reproduction

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