Reciprocal IVF is a fertility option for female/female couples or couples including trans men that allows both partners to participate in the conception process. With reciprocal IVF, one partner provides, or donates, the eggs to be used to create embryos and the other partner carries the pregnancy. The partner providing the eggs starts the IVF process by stimulating their ovaries with fertility medications to produce many egg follicles. Once the follicles are mature, they are extracted from the ovaries during a short egg retrieval procedure. The mature eggs are then fertilized in the lab using donor sperm to create embryos.
In reciprocal IVF the partner serving as gestational carrier takes medications to mimic the naturally occurring hormones that are needed to prepare the uterus for implantation and carrying a pregnancy. The lab monitors the embryo development and then one embryo is transferred into the uterus where it will hopefully implant and be carried to term.
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The reciprocal IVF process will closely mirror the steps taken for traditional IVF.
You and your partner will have different roles and steps required during the process which your care team will walk you through.
You’ll start with testing and diagnosis to give the Oma team a more complete picture of your health and options.
An Oma staff member will go over the financial side of the Reciprocal IVF process with you. Your clinical team will review your calendar, order your medication, and prepare you for your treatment.
To prepare your body for IVF, you’ll need to take birth control pills. It might seem counterintuitive, but birth control helps:
In addition to starting birth control, we may perform additional tests and recommend lifestyle adjustments as needed.
During this step, you’ll begin hormonal treatments by either taking a pill or an injectable medication. This medication encourages your ovaries to produce more mature eggs than they would naturally. The end goal is to get at least three mature and fully-developed eggs. We’ll track your egg development with blood tests and ultrasounds. It takes time for your body to adjust to the hormones and nurture your new eggs, so this stage can take several weeks.
Once you’ve produced enough mature eggs, you’ll receive a hormone injection that induces ovulation (releasing the mature eggs). After about 36 hours, you’ll return to our office for the outpatient egg retrieval procedure. An anesthesiologist will place you under IV sedation and our specialists will remove the eggs. This only takes about 15 minutes, and you’ll rest comfortably afterwards in one of our recovery rooms. After about 30 minutes, you’ll be able to go home.
Oma Sperm InSight™ and our proprietary AI microscope help our embryologists select the most promising sperm cells for IVF, no matter where they are in the sample. These AI tools also track the sperm as they move within the sample, so embryologists don’t have to rely on hand-eye coordination and fast reflexes.
We perform the fertilization in our state-of-the-art lab with the retrieved eggs and selected sperm cells provided by your partner or a sperm donor.
Once the eggs have been retrieved a single sperm is injected into each egg in a process called ICSI to complete the insemination process.
Our lab specialists closely monitor the embryos as they develop and will give you updates on their progression. During this stage, we can also screen for certain genetic disorders, ensuring only the healthiest embryos with the greatest chance of a successful IVF pregnancy are transferred. If you’d like, we can also reveal the sex of embryos.
The doctor will meet with you to determine the best transfer plan. Our goal is to maximize the chance of a successful IVF pregnancy while minimizing the chance of multiple births. Your age and prior history with IVF will affect your transfer plan.
Once you and your doctor agree on a plan, we’ll perform the transfer. This outpatient procedure doesn’t require sedation––it’s quick and often compared to the sensation of a pap smear. Any high-quality embryos left over can be frozen for use in future IVF cycles.
After the transfer, you'll take medications that help support your pregnancy in the early stages. After about two weeks, you’ll take a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, we’ll administer another test soon after to make sure the pregnancy is progressing successfully. If everything goes well, you’ll be well on your journey to building your family. If your pregnancy test is negative, we’ll schedule a follow-up visit to discuss your options.
Any high-quality embryos that are left after an implantation attempt can be frozen by vitrification to be used in a future embryo transfer. Vitrification is a special way to freeze your eggs and embryos that avoids trauma to the cells. Water is removed from the eggs or embryos and replaced with an “antifreeze”. Then the egg is quickly brought to a very cold temperature. By removing the water and freezing it quickly, your eggs or embryos are safe from damaging ice crystal formation.
Reciprocal IVF timelines will vary based on personal medical factors and your doctor's recommendations.
Once the results of the IVF cycle and embryo biopsy are known, the carrier will prepare for the transfer cycle.
Like traditional IVF, reciprocal IVF success rates will vary based on a range of personal health factors of both the egg provider and embryo carrier. With all Oma Fertility IVF treatments, the gold-standard ICSI method is always included at no extra cost. ICSI has a ~72% fertilization rate¹ compared to ~60% for regular IVF².