Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Guest Post - London Women's Clinic

In our last post we wrote about our first IVF appointment. I found the information quite overwhelming, and it took me a while to understand how IVF, particularly egg sharing and reciprocal IVF works and what stages are involved.

This week we have a guest post from the London Women's Clinic, who provide assistance to same sex couples and single women who have fertility problems. This post details the process of egg sharing in a basic, easy to understand article. As our IVF journey progresses we will go into greater detail of the individual steps, what they entail, and what our experiences are of them, but this is a great place to start if you would like to know what the process involves.

"The Stages of Egg Sharing  - Egg Donation Process

Are you considering egg sharing fertility treatment? Then take a look at our guide to the step-by-step process of egg donation and reception.

If you follow this blog then you may have come across previous blog post ‘How two women make a baby’ where Sarah and Lauren discussed the fertility options available to same sex couples. One of these options was IVF egg sharing.

If you are considering egg sharing as a fertility option then it is important to know what to expect from the process. So let’s take a step-by-step look at the egg donation process and IVF.

Why Choose Egg Sharing?

When deciding to start a family some lesbian couples will take part in the egg donation process and IVF so that one partner is genetically a parent and the other carries the baby. This is a great way of making both parents feel involved in the process, particularly if one cannot, or does not wish to, become pregnant.

Egg sharing is also a popular option among women who have fertility issues; for whatever reason are unable to produce their own eggs and therefore cannot get pregnant naturally.
Some frequently asked questions about egg sharing are answered here.

The Egg Sharing Process

(For the purpose of this explanation we will use a same sex couple as an example)

The journey to motherhood begins with a consultation with a specialist to discuss the treatment and ask any questions you may have. Health screening and egg sharing tests are then conducted which may include a cervical smear, and testing for cystic fibrosis and rubella.
The donor partner will then have their own medical and psychological evaluation. This will ensure that the donor is a good candidate for the process. Research into the donor’s medical history will provide more information about their fertility and gynaecological past.

Your menstrual cycles will then be synced using the contraceptive pill so that they are in tune with each other and the donor will be given daily hormone drugs or injections to stimulate the ovaries.
The aim of this is to produce multiple follicles, that once large enough, can be collected. Although no one likes needles, this process is usually completely painless and will take no more than 30 minutes. (It is completed either under general anaesthetic, or sedation, depending on the clinic.)
Once retrieved, a fine sterile needle is used to remove the eggs from the follicles. The next step is the fertilisation of the eggs with donor sperm; chosen from a sperm bank or known donor prior to the process. However be aware that the sperm donor will have no legal rights to the child if the pregnancy is successful.
Image : Wikipedia

The embryo will then be transferred and inserted into the uterus of the carrier. A maximum of 2 embryos at a time can be used but if the patient is under 35 years old only one will be used to avoid the chance of twin pregnancies. (This varies between clinics) There is just the case then of waiting to see if the pregnancy is a success.
Throughout the whole process there are frequent check-ups, and then a week or two after the retrieval process is complete the donor will be asked in for a follow-up appointment.  

If the pregnancy is successful, when the baby is born the mother who gives birth to the child will be entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave and the non-birth mother 2 weeks paternity leave. However if the birth mother wishes to return to work early additional paternity leave for the non-birth mother may be available for up to 26 weeks.

So what do you think? Will you be making an appointment to start the egg sharing process?
The London Women’s clinic based in London, Wales and the North East specialise in providing fertility treatment for same sex couple and single women. If you are interested in finding out more phone on 02075 634309 or send them an email at info@londonwomensclinic.com"


  1. Great blog post. Nice to have it simplified.
    Can't wait to hear more about your personal journey girls xx

  2. Thanks Chloe. We found step by step info, particularly aimed at lesbian couples, quite difficult to come across online, so hopefully we can change that!


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