The Benefits of Reciprocal IVF and Overcoming Emotional Challenges
Many LGBTQ2IA+ individuals choose to incorporate reciprocal IVF into their fertility plan. Below, we provide an overview of the procedure, discuss some unique benefits that this process may bring, and highlight how to overcome family planning emotional challenges.
LGBTQ2IA+ family building doesn’t come with the ‘blueprints’ that many heterosexual couples have when planning their journey.
It can feel overwhelming to navigate the field of fertility care when a large amount of information is directed at an idea of family-building that doesn’t align with your goals. However, this idea of starting from scratch and designing your fertility journey can also be a time of great possibility.
The growth of assisted reproductive technology (ART) means that many families now have a variety of family-building options. As the fertility field continues to grow, we encounter new emotional challenges. It is important to remember that these emotions are valid and the feelings you are experiencing may be more common than you think.
Benefits of Reciprocal IVF and Overcoming Emotional Challenges
Reciprocal IVF allows lesbian or trans-men couples to both participate in creating their child. In this process, a variation of standard IVF, Partner A’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized using donor sperm.
The embryos that are created are then placed inside the uterus of Partner B to carry the pregnancy. Reciprocal IVF allows both parents to feel connected to their child, as one partner is their genetic parent, and the other is their birth parent.
However, it can be challenging for some couples to decide who will take on each role. Sometimes, both partners feel they must grieve the loss of the role they did not get to play in their child’s creation.
Some factors may help influence the decision, for example:
Medical conditions: One partner may be unable to carry a pregnancy due to medical conditions or uterine abnormalities
At Anova, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to family building with reciprocal IVF.
At your first appointment with us, we aim to help make this decision easier by facilitating discussions about each partner’s values and desires surrounding their baby. For example, one partner might place more importance on experiencing pregnancy while the second desires a genetic connection to their baby.
Deciding which partner will fulfill each role is an exciting, unique part of Reciprocal IVF, and our goal is to help make this decision process as smooth as possible.
Family Building: The Anova Way
At Anova Fertility & Reproductive Health, one of our core values is creating an inclusive environment for individuals to build their families. Our role is to facilitate a smooth experience for patients of all genders and sexual orientations.
It is essential to choose a fertility team experienced in LGBTQ2IA+ family building. One that is well-versed in the many ways to grow a family, allows flexibility in planning your fertility journey, and understands the emotional aspects of building a family.
To learn more about family planning options register to attend Dr. Dixon’s webinar on June 28th at 7:00 PM ET.
Chloe Graham (she/her)
Master's Student (University of Guelph, Biomedical Sciences)
About the author
Chloe is a Masters Student in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph, who also works as a patient coordinator at Anova Fertility.
At Anova, she educates patients through creating online resources, manages patient flow and assists with administrative functions. Before joining our team, Chloe advocated for women’s health and reproductive rights as an executive member of Oxfam at Guelph, local branch of the international anti-poverty organization.
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