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Reciprocal IVF

There are several possible pathways to parenthood for those in the LGBTQ+ community.

If you’re in a lesbian, same-sex female, trans-man or non-binary partnership where one of you wishes to provide your eggs and the other to carry a pregnancy, then reciprocal IVF is a good option for you.

Reciprocal IVF is a variation of the standard in vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure which enables both partners to be involved in creating and carrying a pregnancy.

Find out more about what it is and how it works so you can find the path to parenthood that best suits you and your circumstances.

two girls

What is reciprocal IVF?

Also referred to as shared motherhood or shared parenthood, reciprocal IVF uses the eggs from one partner to create embryos which are then transferred into the uterus of the other partner.  

Before undergoing reciprocal IVF, you must first decide which partner will be donating their eggs and which will be the gestational carrier and birth mother/parent. You’ll also need to decide whose sperm you will be using, whether it is a partner, co-parent or sperm donor.  

Find out more about using donor sperm

How does reciprocal IVF work?

IVF is one of the most common and successful fertility treatments for many people.

During IVF, eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised by sperm in a lab. These develop into embryos which are then transferred to the uterus for a hopeful pregnancy. 

With reciprocal IVF, the first partner is considered the genetic mother or parent as it is their eggs that will be matured and collected and fertilised with sperm in a lab to create the embryo/s.  

Those embryos are then grown and eventually transferred into the uterus of the second partner, making them the gestational carrier or birth mother/parent if the treatment is successful.  

What can we expect from the reciprocal IVF process?

Reciprocal IVF follows much the same process as standard IVF and includes the following steps:  

For the partner donating the eggs: 

  1. Suppressing the natural menstrual cycle. Medication will be administered at home via an injection to stop natural hormone production and control when your eggs are released.  

  1. Stimulating the ovaries. Further medication will be given to stimulate egg production. This increases the chance of more eggs being collected.  

  1. Monitoring progress. A scan will be performed to check the development of the follicles that produce the eggs. This will determine when the eggs are collected.  

  1. Egg retrieval. Once the follicles have reached the correct size, an injection will be given to mature the eggs for collection. A needle is then gently guided through the vaginal wall to capture the eggs one by one. Don’t worry, you will be sedated for this part of the procedure to ensure no pain or discomfort. 

  1. Fertilising the eggs. The eggs are fertilised with sperm in the lab. This can either be donor sperm or the sperm of a known male.  

For the partner carrying the pregnancy:

  1. Embryo development: Embryos are cultured in the lab for 5-6 days until they reach the blastocyst stage. The gestational carrier’s cycle will be monitored during this stage to ensure the uterine lining is the correct thickness when the embryo is transferred.  

  1. Embryo transfer: When the time comes, the best embryo/s is chosen for insemination and any remaining healthy embryos can be frozen and stored for use in future cycles.  

We’ve helped many lesbian, same-sex female and trans and non-binary people and their partners become parents through reciprocal IVF.  

Our team will guide you through the process, share our experience with other patients, and answer any questions you have. 

Getting started contact us

We’re here to help

Whatever your situation, we’re here to answer your questions and guide you through your fertility preservation options. Please use our contact form to book an appointment at your local TFP Fertility clinic to find out more.

How much does reciprocal IVF cost?

Our shared motherhood or shared parenthood treatment package costs £9150 and includes egg collection for the partner providing the egg and a fresh or frozen embryo transfer as well as additional screening if needed.  

Before treatment can begin, you’ll also need to undergo a fertility assessment and an initial consultation with one of our fertility specialists.  

We offer a comprehensive fertility assessment for same sex couples and all LGBTQ+ people for £565. This includes an ultrasound scan and AMH blood test for each partner and a follow-up consultation to discuss your results.  

It’s important to know that your medication for the procedure will be an additional expense, however, the cost of this is wholly dependent on you as an individual. There may be additional fees associated with your treatment, for example, storage for any leftover healthy eggs or embryos that you may wish to use in future cycles.  

Your consultant will discuss all the costs associated with your treatment during your consultation.  

Visit your local TFP Fertility clinic page for more information on our pricing, treatment packages and payment options available.  


Learn more about LGBTQ+ treatments

Find out more about treatments like surrogacy and fertility preservation for LGBTQ+ people.


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