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Reciprocal IVF for Lesbians

One increasingly popular option for lesbian partners wishing to have a child is reciprocal (also called partner) in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this option, one partner provides the eggs and the other partner carries the pregnancy. This is attractive to many couples because it allows both women to be physically involved in the pregnancy. This physical involvement can help heighten feelings of emotional involvement and connection to the pregnancy.

How Reciprocal IVF Works

Once a couple has decided to use reciprocal IVF, they will begin a process almost identical to standard IVF. Like other forms of reproductive assistance for lesbian couples, one of the first things to consider is sperm donation. Once a couple chooses a sperm donor, they will begin a process of synchronizing their menstrual cycles by taking oral contraceptive pills. The partner who is donating eggs will also take medications to stimulate the maturation of multiple eggs. The partner who will have the embryo implanted will take medications to help prepare the uterus for implantation. After 6 to 9 weeks, depending on how long it takes to synchronize the cycles, the eggs will be retrieved from one partner using ultrasound guidance and fertilized with the donor sperm in the laboratory. The embryo will then be placed in the uterus of the partner who will carry the pregnancy using a small catheter and she will be monitored for pregnancy. If pregnancy is achieved, prenatal care can begin.

What to Consider with Reciprocal IVF

The same considerations that apply to standard IVF also apply to reciprocal IVF. A couple needs to understand the processes and consider its success rates. Insurance may cover the process, depending on your insurance provider and policy. A couple must also carefully consider the role each partner will play and their expectations for the pregnancy. It is not uncommon for a couple to use reciprocal IVF for a second child, with their original donor and carrier roles reversed so that each woman gets to experience both childbearing and having a biological connection to the child.


Comments (57)


Hi Bella,

I may have already spoken with you via telephone today, but I highly recommend Dr. Ilan Tur Kaspa. You can contact us at 855-955-BABY (2229) to schedule a consultation with him.


I m a lesbian n I would like to do insermination n I dnt ve a sperm donour. I m staying at King Williiam's Town. How much will it cost?

Hi Zikhona,

The cost of an IUI in the United States ranges from $800-$1,000. The cost of donor sperm is around $500.

If you would like to set up a consultation with a doctor in the US, give us a call at 1-855-955-BABY (2229)


My wife and I want to begin the IVF process. We would like to know if it was medically possibly for me to carry her egg and mine at the same time.

Hi guys, we are facing the same problem, so we'd be happy too know, if you find an asnwer to your question "My wife and I want to begin the IVF process. We would like to know if it was medically possibly for me to carry her egg and mine at the same time". So, is it medically possible? Thanks! Valentina


Typically, when undergoing Reciprocal IVF, one partner is the egg donor and the other partner is the gestational carrier of the child.

Hypothetically, both partners could undergo an egg retrieval and undergo the fertilization process using the donor sperm so that there would be two fertilized embryos - one belonging to each partner. During the embryo transfer itself, an embryo belonging to one partner could be transferred along with an embryo belonging to the other partner. However, it is not guaranteed that one embryo will implant, let alone two. From a moral and ethical standpoint, a doctor would not intentionally try to impregnate a patient with multiples as this can be harmful to both the mother and the children. There are a lot of risks associated with carrying multiples. The number of embryos transferred is entirely up to you and your doctor. Please know that it is not guaranteed that one embryo will implant once transferred let alone two.

I hope that answered your questions :)


Hi just wondering if you could post some lgbt friendly ivf clinics. Me and my wife are new to the state & wanted to look into expanding our family . Thank you

Hi my name is kendrick I am FTM and me and my wife are interested in the Reciprocal IVF Procedure I would like to know cost as well as some lgbt friendly doctors in Los Angeles Ca since thats where we reside

Hi my partner and I our planning to try for our first time. I would be carrying, and would like to have her eggs implanted and mine fertilized as well. How much would the cost be and where could I look for sperm banks, I live in MI, I have no fertility issues. Thank you in advance.

Hello Lynette,
The treatment you are interested in is called Reciprocal IVF. There are centers across US that provide the services. Also there are sperm banks where you would be able to purchase the specimen through. Please contact our Patient Care Advocates @ 855-955-BABY (2229) and they will be able to further assist you.

Is it possible to fertilize me and implant partners donor fertilized egg with same sperm therefore the possibility of having two at one time? Or do you have to fertilize the two different eggs outside the womb and then implant this possible too.?

Liz - they could do an egg retrieval on both you and your partner and fertilize one of your eggs and one of her eggs so that there would be two fertilized embryos. However, when they do what's called the "embryo transfer" they cannot guarantee that either embryo will implant let alone two. I hope that makes sense. A fertility doctor can never guarantee that an embryo will ever implant once it has been transferred.

My partner is in her late 40's and i am in my late 20's, she does want a child and i would more than anything love to give her a baby with her genetics. Will her age have anything to do with the ivf if she is the egg donor aside the obvious with her age and currently our cycles do sync.

Because of your ages, the best scenario might be for you to use her eggs and for your partner to carry the baby. A fertility doctor would either sync your cycles for a fresh embryo transfer or do a frozen transfer. If you'd like information on a fertility clinic in your area that works with same sex couples please contact our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

so me and my girlfriend are a lesbiam couple , and we have a sperm donor already but we are wondering how to get one of my eggs into her the cheapest way ? could it be done at home or would we have to go to a clinic or doctor??

You would need to see a fertility doctor to perform egg donation or reciprocal IVF. If you'd like more information, including finding a doctor to work with, please contact our Patient Care Advocates at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

My partner and I live in AZ we would like to have a child together with in the next year or so my partner would be the one carrying she is 24 years old and has a 3 year old son we would like to know how we can get more info to start the process

Is it possible to get my eggs fertilized by a sperm donor & my partners eggs fertilized by the same donor & then both sets of fertilized eggs inserted in the uterus?

That may be an option. Many doctors prefer single embryo transfer, but it depends on the individual case. Best, Claire

Does insurance typically cover any part of the reciprocal ivf process? Are there clinics that accept payment plans? My partner and I are just beginning to consider having children and reciprocal ivf would be ideal, however the costs are frightening!

Typically, insurance does not cover reciprocal IVF. But there may be financing plans or loans available, depending on the clinic you choose., Best, Claire

Hello my girlfriend and I have been talking about having a child for sometime now. I have one of my own but we are ready for another one. I was wondering how much the cost of the whole process would be for the both of us. We live in California and have blue cross insurance and not sure if it covers anything.

I want to use my gf eggs which she has had frozen for two years, is there any negative reasons not to use those eggs over fresh eggs. We are also inquiring the cost of the whole process and we are in GA

Many clinics are having excellent success with frozen eggs. Our Patient Care Advocates can provide you info about treatment and costs in GA. Please call or email at 855-955-2229 or Best, Claire

Hello my partner and I are living in NYC and are talked about me giving her my egg and we already have a doner. I'm sure my insurance covers IVF but is the cost also including the medication (approx 20,000) for us both? Once we start medication ...routine F/u care is neccassary for how long ??how soon after is the prenatal process? Thanks

You should check with you insurance company to determine what they will cover - consultation, treatment, donor egg, etc. Fertility drugs can cost $2,500-$4,000 per cycle. There are two components to a donor cycle: the egg retrieval and then prepping your body for insemination of the embryo. The timing will depend on whether you are doing a frozen or fresh egg donation. In a fresh cycle the transfer will be approximately 3-5 days after egg retrieval, and then there's a two-week-wait until the pregnancy test. Let me know if you'd like more info. All the best, Claire

Can you recommend any great doctors around the Austin TX area.. my partner and i would like to begin the process soon and have a lot of questions. .

Once you find a sperm donor, and a doctor to do the insemination, you would have the insemination done around ovulation in the natural menstrual cycle. There's no additional prep or wait time, unless you are going to have a fertility workup prior.

How long does the process take from Start to finish if my partner and I just want to do insemination?

I live in New jersey and me and my partner wants to have a baby and I wanna carry one of her eggs..can u tell me how long it takes and how much it cost??

Reciprocal IVF costs approximately $20,000 not including the cost of donor sperm.

Hi me and my partner want to use her eggs and I will carry them but we want to know if it is safe to use my biological brother as our donor?

Hi Jessica, we want to do the same thing, I'm interested in getting in touch with you about how it worked for you! my email is evilwillowmademedoit at gmail dot com

You can use your brother's sperm and your partner's egg, but I would encourage you to do two things. One, make sure you work with a fertility clinic that is gay friendly. And two, make sure that you get legal counsel. You may not think it's necessary, but it's in everyone's best interest. If you need additional information, please let me know. Best, Claire

I would like to know how much it typically costs to do the reciprocal IVF for me and my fiancé she wants me to carry the baby and we use her egg an a sperm donor? How much would it all come down to.

Hi Emma My partner and I are currently going through IVF with Hollywood fertility clinic in WA. We did a google search to find the best clinic and then we called them to ask how the feel about same sex couples and most of them were open and receptive. Call them, ask the hard questions and if you like what you hear get a docs referral and have an initial consult. (Referral is so you can claim back on Medicare). Good luck in your hunting :)

What if I want to put one of my fertilized eggs in with one of my partners and have fraternal twins/half siblings , is that possible and is it possible to choose the sex on my partners bc we want a girl bc she has two boys?!

As a lesbian woman it is much easier for you to have a family than for me, a gay man. I am planning on donating my sperm for lesbian couples, but to hear you taking such a 'designer baby' attitude is worrying me. A baby is a gift. It does not matter what it has between it's legs. You sound like a spoiled brat who wants the world on a plate.

You should consult with a fertility doctor who is LGBT-friendly and offers gender selection with PGD. If you'd like us to help you find one in your area, please email or call: or 855-955-2229. Best, Claire

Hi there, My girlfriend and I are thinking about this procedure in the next 5 years tso no ruah. we want to settle down and save up some money before committing to such a big step in our lives but I was wondering if there is any fertility clinics that specialise in same sex couples in Australia at this time? Thanks

Hi, hope you can help. My partner and i have frozen embryos (from my eggs) that we want to use for her to hopefully carry another child (i carried first via IVF). We are just not sure of the first step legal wise as i understand that I will be considered a "donor" requiring some legal paperwork. We live in NYC. -Zenith

How much is it to freeze my eggs? I'm 36, my wife is 24..


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