Reciprocal IVF is a unique form of fertility treatment whereby a female same sex couple or a woman with a trans male partner can share the process of creating their child, with the assistance of donor sperm. It is also sometimes known as ROPA or Shared Motherhood. The process is mechanically identical to standard IVF with egg donation.
While Reciprocal IVF has been a popular form of treatment in other countries for over a decade, it was only introduced and licensed for in late 2019 into our Irish fertility clinics. Before 2019, anyone who wanted to avail of this treatment had to go abroad. Thankfully, it is now available here and is becoming the treatment of choice for many female couples wishing to expand their families. Dr. John Kennedy, medical director of Thérapie Fertility, was a long time advocate for the availability of the treatment and is thrilled to be offering the most affordable Reciprocal IVF programme in Ireland.
Reciprocal IVF has many benefits, the most obvious being that it allows both intending parents to be very physically involved in the process of conceiving their child, which otherwise would not have been biologically possible.
Fertility treatment, as most people are aware, can be an emotionally difficult process. When one partner is going through treatment on their own, the other partner can sometimes feel excluded or side lined. Through Reciprocal IVF, one parent will be the genetic parent and the other will be the gestational parent, and as a result will very much allow each partner to feel connected to the process of growing their family.
To put it simply, Reciprocal IVF is a standard IVF cycle split between two partners… with the addition of donor sperm being used. The first person will undergo the ovarian stimulation and the egg collection and the other will do the embryo transfer and hopefully carry a baby to term. The other really unique thing about Reciprocal IVF is that once you have created embryos, you have the option for either partner to use them down the line, should you wish to do so. In some couples, only one partner wishes to (or is able to) become pregnant. But the option is always there if you have frozen embryos and decide to ‘swap’ over when trying for another child.
If you have any remaining embryos after your initial Frozen Embryo Transfer, you can keep them frozen, for use at a later date.
Thanks to recent developments in Irish legislation, following on from treatment in an Irish clinic, you will both have full equal legal connection to your child. The person who gives birth will be listed as the legal mother (or parent if you prefer) and the other parent will be named as the second ‘parent’ on your child’s birth certificate.
There are so many things to consider when choosing who will carry the baby. Firstly you may wish to both have some basic fertility tests carried out which may show you wish one might be better suited to carry or which of you has a better chance of success with the egg retrieval. Your age may come into play when looking at egg quality. Another factor to consider is if either one of you has carried a previous pregnancy.
You may also wish to consider who is better placed to take time off from work during the pregnancy and while your child is very young. Many couples make their decision based on this.
Some couples may decide that they are both going to take turns becoming pregnant, while others have a very clear picture of how they would like the treatment to be split.
You also need to consider the emotional dynamics of the relationship. One partner may have a deeper desire to become pregnant and go through the process of delivery and in some cases both partners want the opportunity to do so.
Choosing who is going to carry and who is going to give the eggs is of course an incredibly personal decision and one which is completely up to you as a couple. There are no wrong decisions, only informed choices once you look at the whole picture.
In Ireland, the only type of sperm which is allowed is called ‘identifiable’. This doesn’t mean that the donor will know who you are or vice versa. It simply means that the donors information is stored on a national database and your child will be eligible to access that information once they reach the age of consent. When choosing donor sperm for Reciprocal IVF, people often like to choose a donor who has the physical attributes of the gestational parent.
When you understand how Reciprocal IVF works, it is clear that it shouldn’t cost twice as much as a standard IVF cycle. However there are additional steps in the process and additional costs for us. At Thérapie Fertility we understand this, and have ensured that we are fair in our pricing, while remaining the most affordable clinic in Ireland to choose for your Reciprocal IVF treatment. We will always be transparent with our fees and won’t surprise you with unexpected increases along the way. We also have a great monthly payment plan which helps to take some of the pressure off of having to pay for everything up front, should you chose to do so.
Finding the right clinic is a crucial step in anyone’s fertility journey. You want to feel completely supported and understood at every stage of your journey. As a ‘non-traditional’ couple looking to grow your family, you may have come up against situations where you have felt disrespected and misunderstood. When you are going through something as challenging as fertility treatment, the last thing you should be worrying about is that your care provider may not have the skills and experience in working with the LGBTQ+ community. Thérapie Fertility are committed to providing inclusive and respectful fertility treatment to all people, regardless of their gender or sexual identity.
Thérapie Fertility Clinic boasts a team of Ireland’s top Fertility experts, led by Dr. John Kennedy. The team has helped over 3000 intending parents to build their families. Every patient journey is given personalised care and attention and your happiness and comfort are at the heart of the service you will receive at Thérapie Fertility.
Our Dublin fertility clinic, located in Carrickmines, is in a prime location right off the M50 with ample free parking and nearby amenities.