Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter with their son Stetson. The couple became the first to try effortless IVF, a new procedure that allowed the both of them to carry the same baby. ( Ashleigh Coulter | Facebook )
Two mothers from Texas became the first same-sex couple to carry the same baby through in vitro fertilization.
Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter welcomed their first child, their son Stetson, earlier this year. He is now 5 months old.
“The way that Mr. Stetson came into this world was pretty special,” Ashleigh, who gave birth to the baby, told CBS.
Stetson’s birth is indeed pretty special. His parents knew that they wanted to have children when they got married, but because they are both women, they also knew that they needed help, so they approached Kathy Doody of the Center for Assisted Reproduction. Dr. Doody recommended a new method that will allow both women to experience motherhood.
The method is called effortless IVF and it still requires an egg and a sperm. However, instead of putting the egg and the sperm inside an incubator in a lab, effortless IVF requires that the egg and the sperm be placed in a chamber called INVOcell device for a couple of days.
In the case of the Coulters, the egg was harvested from Bliss and was placed in the chamber with the sperm from a donor. The device was then placed in Bliss’s body for five days to allow early embryo development
Next, the doctors evaluated the uterus of Ashley. She was given estrogen and progesterone to prepare her body for the transfer of the embryo.
“She got to carry him for five days and was a big part of the fertilization, and then I carried him for nine months,” Ashleigh added. “So that made it really special for the both of us — that we were both involved.”
The procedure luckily was a success the first time they tried it. Nine months later, Ashleigh gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
Effortless Vs. Reciprocal IVF
Effortless IVF differs from the regular procedure called reciprocal IVF. Although both still require an egg and a sperm, reciprocal IVF places the sperm and egg into incubators inside the lab before the embryo is transferred to the woman’s body.
Dr. Doody said that effortless IVF is also a lot more accessible and affordable compared to traditional IVF. However, she admitted that the process has already received mixed feelings from the medical community.
She, however, assured that the process is safe and effective. Although the Coulters are the first same-sex couple to undergo effortless IVF, Dr. Doody said that she has performed the procedure in heterosexual couples.
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