By Dr Andy Stamatiou
Most women plan to have a child at some stage in their lives. For lesbian women, this is no different.
Thankfully, science, through intrauterine insemination (artificial insemination), has allowed the process to be more accessible and safe.
Donor sperm may be sourced from a known donor or an anonymous donor. This technique carries a risk of multiple pregnancy of just 6%.
Reciprocal IVF – otherwise known as partner IVF – is where both partners are physically involved. One partner provides the eggs which are fertilised with donor sperm and the other partner carries the pregnancy.
The partner providing eggs will take medications to stimulate her ovaries and promote the growth of multiple follicles. The other partner takes medication to prepare the womb for an embryo transfer.
Eggs are retrieved via a short procedure, fertilised with donor sperm and embryos created.
A good quality embryo is transferred to the partner’s womb and excess embryos are frozen for future use. A pregnancy blood test is performed 14 days after the embryo transfer.
For more children, the stored embryos may be used or the couple may reverse roles and repeat the process above using the other partner’s eggs. Couples often use the same sperm donor so that the children have a biological connection.
Women should consider fertility preservation if they have certain medical conditions, or do not yet have a partner, or are still building careers or wish to become a single parent in the future. Eggs can be “harvested” and frozen as “insurance” for the future.
The standard storage period for eggs is 10 years, although this may vary depending on particular circumstances.
Dr Andy Stamatiou is affiliated with Rainbow Fertility and can assist those wishing to become parents. His office is on Level 7 of the Watkins Medical Centre at 225 Wickham Terrace in Spring Hill. To book a consultation to discuss possibilities with Dr Stamatiou, call (07) 3613 9774.