A married lesbian couple in Texas successfully took turns carrying the same baby before birth, using an in vitro fertilization technique called Effortless Reciprocal IVF and an innovative new device called INVOcell.
Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, who were legally wed in 2015 and live near Dallas, utilized the groundbreaking approach to conceive and carry their son, Stetson, who was born healthy this past June.
The procedure started with Bliss, 36, who carried an egg for five days as it was being fertilized with donor sperm. She did this by using the INVOcell: a small gas-permeable device that can be loaded with an egg and sperm, and then inserted up into the top of the vagina, which naturally has the ideal environment for fertilization. In effect, Bliss acted as a temporary human incubator, as opposed to a lab. After retrieval of the device, Ashleigh, 28, was impregnated with the embryo, and she carried it the rest of the way to term.
This revolutionary approach to conception and pregnancy was the perfect solution for a lesbian couple who wanted to share the parenthood experience in different ways.
“I was very much interested in having children, but Bliss was a little iffy on it,” Ashleigh told ABC News.
Bliss explained that she wanted a child that was biologically hers, but she didn’t want to actually carry the child.
Luckily, the couple found a way to do exactly that.
Fertility doctors Kathleen and Kevin Doody, cofounders of The Center for Assisted Reproduction (Care Fertility) in Fort Worth, Texas, assisted the Coulters with their conception and pregnancy.
“In our Effortless IVF program, we combine the INVOcell technology with a streamlined monitoring approach which reduces the office visits to a fraction of what they are with traditional IVF—making it easier and more affordable, by about half the cost of conventional IVF,” stated Kevin Doody, MD, in a press release. “We believe that INVOcell opens the door to a broad new audience of couples looking to start or expand their families.”