Egg Sharing For Lesbian Couples
If you’re in a lesbian relationship, achieving conception can be a little bit complicated – there are a number of natural and bureaucratic obstacles in the way and initially it may seem as though having a child of your own is impossible.
Conversely, lesbian couples have been giving birth for years through “egg sharing”, and with exceptionally high success rates it’s easy to see why. Let’s take a look at the egg sharing and IVF treatment process and the associated benefits for lesbians – you could be planning a new addition to the family sooner than you think.
- Reasons to Participate in Egg Sharing
Lesbians who have had no previous conception success with IUI treatment or intrauterine insemination may choose to participate in egg-sharing as a way to receive free or reduced IVF treatment. Reasons for failed insemination may be due to age or health problems and in these cases IVF can often be a more viable option.
Another reason and often the most predominant motivation for egg sharing amongst lesbians is the option of one woman providing the eggs so that her partner can use the eggs and carry the baby. This way both women are given an important role in the pregnancy and allows each of them to feel a natural connection to the baby.
The option of accepting a donation from a partner is becoming increasingly popular among lesbian couples due to both the genetic and birth mother playing a crucial role in the birth process as opposed to accepting eggs from an anonymous donor, which may leave the lady who is not carrying the baby feeling less involved.
A 2009 survey of over 200 women undergoing fertility treatment found that the live birth rate for egg-sharers was 64%. These high success rates were considered to be because lesbians generally use IVF in place of a male partner as opposed to being infertile.
- Partner to Partner Egg Donation
The egg sharing process begins by stimulating the chosen genetic mothers ovaries which encourages egg production, eggs are then collected and fertilised in a laboratory. Later one or two eggs are transferred to the chosen egg carrier, and excess eggs are frozen and can be stored for later use.
This is where the egg-sharing part of the process comes in – eggs which are often unused by the original donor can be distributed amongst other women in need of IVF treatment.
- Laws Affecting Egg Sharing
In the eyes of the law, a child’s birth mother will always be the woman who has carried the child in her womb, this is something lesbians will have to consider when choosing to be a donor or recipient. If conception is successful, one of the partners will not have a genetic link with their child.
In addition, when it comes to maternity leave if you are unmarried it is only the birth mother who receives entitlement and even if you are married, paternity leave is notably uncharitable compared with maternity leave.
With almost 20 years’ experience, London Women’s Clinic are pioneers of the egg sharing scheme and offer a selection of fertility treatments to single lesbians and same-sex couples alike. LWC are the parent organisation of eggsharing.com, for more information on egg sharing visit the website or call 020 7563 4309 to speak to a consultant.