In essence this entails fertilizing eggs from one partner, culturing or growing the resulting embryos for five days, and selectively transferring one or two of these embryos to the uterus of the second partner in anticipation of implantation and a healthy, ongoing pregnancy. At our New Jersey fertility center, Dr. Jane Miller meets with all lesbian couples to discuss this option. Frequently lesbian couples tell us that they “didn’t know that this was even possible!”
Whose Eggs, Whose Uterus?
If possible the eggs should come from the younger partner (if there is an age discrepancy). Younger eggs are more likely to be genetically normal than are eggs from an older woman. Number of eggs anticipated to be retrieved is important as well. The more eggs retrieved (up to a point) the more chances there will be for a good one or two embryos for transfer five days later. An “ideal” number of eggs is between twelve and fifteen.
Tests for Both Partners for Reciprocal IVF
A few simple tests will help New Jersey fertility doctor Jane Miller decide if a woman is good candidate to be the “egg donor” for reciprocal IVF:
- Blood hormone tests on day 2 or day 3 of her cycle: estradiol, FSH, LH, TSH, and prolactin
- Blood test for AMH (not dependent upon the cycle day)
- Vaginal ultrasound for ovarian position, size, and antral follicle count
The partner who is to be carrying the anticipated pregnancy needs to be in good health, a non-smoker, and of normal weight. Testing specific to her consists of :
- Uterine imaging by vaginal ultrasound and
- A hysterosalpingogram Xray to image the inside of the cervix, uterus, and tubes.
Once the testing is complete New Jersey fertility doctor Jane Miller, M.D. meets with the anticipated parents to discuss test results and to make recommendations for the upcoming cycle. She will detail the role-specific hormonal treatments needed to develop follicles (the sacs that contain eggs) in the egg “donor” and the uterine lining in the “gestational carrier”. Our staff will then walk the couple through the steps of donor sperm selection and purchase and get the couple on the schedule to begin the path to parenthood.