Female Couples Undergoing IVF with Partner Eggs (Co-IVF): Pathways to Parenthood

LGBT Health. 2015 Jun;2(2):135-9. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2014.0126. Epub 2015 Apr 6.


Purpose: Egg sharing in female couples can be used to allow dual participation of female couples in the pregnancy process. The oocyte donor-partner provides the eggs and the recipient partner provides the uterine environment for gestation. We present descriptive data of our experience in female couples to establish a better understanding of utilization of co-in vitro fertilization (Co-IVF) for social and medical reasons.

Methods: Female couples enrolled in a third party reproduction program that engaged in at least one Co-IVF cycle were included. Previous assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle data, Co-IVF cycle information and pregnancy outcomes were evaluated.

Results: Female couples (n=21) who participated in Co-IVF cycles were analyzed. Over time, 16/21 (76%) of couples achieved at least one pregnancy, 9 (42%) couples delivered, and there are another 5 (23%) ongoing pregnancies.

Conclusion: Our analysis presents descriptive data and sheds realistic expectations for Co-IVF couples. Co-IVF cycles can result in a shared experience with regard to the process of creating a family, while preserving a female couple's desire for dual partner participation in the gestational process. We encourage centers treating female couples to consider departing from traditional nomenclature of "donors" and "recipients" and adopting the nomenclature "Co-IVF" to describe the modern understanding of the shared experience. Even if female couples have experienced prior unsuccessful cycles, couples ultimately retain an excellent prognosis for reproductive success using Co-IVF.

Keywords: genetic and child and adolescent development; lesbian; mental health needs; public policy and advocacy; sexual orientation; sexual/gender minorities and parenting.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Female / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Terminology as Topic