07 Jun ROPA: The fertility treatment designed for the LGBTQ+ community
Motherhood is a significant milestone in a couple’s life, where both partners should feel included and comfortable with the process. To address the need for inclusivity and the desire of mothers to have a biological connection with their future child, a new, innovative type of IVF was created. In this article, we will delve into the details of this revolutionary fertility treatment.
Recent advancements in science and technology now allow same-sex female couples to conceive and become mothers. The “ROPA” (Reception of Oocytes from the Partner) method, a highly sought-after treatment in the LGBTQ+ community, allows both partners to actively participate in the pregnancy process and fosters a deeper emotional connection.
Reciprocal IVF, or simply “ROPA”, is unique in that it involves synchronizing the reproductive cycles of both women who are participating. Generally, the younger woman is the one providing the eggs, since that maximizes the success rates of the treatment, unless she has a low ovarian reserve. The egg retrieval process typically lasts for only 20 minutes and may require minimal sedation for added comfort. After the eggs are retrieved, they are then fertilized in the lab with anonymous donor sperm. As for the recipient, she undergoes a hormonal treatment with estrogen and progesterone to help prepare the uterus for embryo implantation. The best-quality embryo is then transferred to the uterus of the woman who will carry the pregnancy.
This method is also commonly referred to as “shared motherhood” precisely because both women are involved in the pregnancy and birth of their child. Both the biological mother and the gestational mother are equally involved in the process, without any one of them feeling excluded. Not only that, but the use of this method significantly improves lesbian couples’ pregnancy rates, when compared to intrauterine insemination (48% versus 18%).
It is important to note that anonymous sperm donation is required for this treatment. Sperm donors are not only carefully screened for infectious diseases, but their semen quality, age, family history, psychological state and other factors are also assessed before they are accepted into the Sperm Bank. It is worth noting that, in Spain, donor sperm samples can only be used up until six pregnancies have been achieved.
Thanks to the provisions of the recent Law 4/2023 in Spain, whose main focus is guaranteeing the rights of the LGBTI community, the non-pregnant partner would no longer need to pursue a judicial adoption process to be legally recognized as a mother. Instead, she would simply have to express her consent in the Spanish Civil Registry upon the child’s birth. This specific development has brought equality between married and unmarried lesbian couples from Spain who are interested in pursuing fertility treatments together. Additionally, this law reinforces the argument against discrimination based on marital status or sexual orientation, when it comes to fertility treatments. There’s only one peculiarity: to ensure the integrity of the process, and in order to eliminate any concerns of undisclosed gamete donation between the unmarried women, both would have to declare that they share a common reproductive project, and this would be documented in their clinical history.
In addition to the medical and technical aspects of the ROPA method, we must also recognize the emotional and psychological impact of this process. As already mentioned, IVF with ROPA allows for a unique and intimate bonding experience between the two women involved, as they both participate in the creation of their family. But it also provides a sense of empowerment for lesbian couples who may have previously felt excluded from more traditional family models. Whatever the case might be, at Reproclinic, we are proud to have adopted an integrated approach to fertility, where we provide counseling services to our patients to ensure that they feel fully supported in each stage of the process.
At Reproclinic, we also understand that every patient, every family, and every family project is unique, and therefore requires a personalized treatment. We will work with you to determine the most suitable fertility treatment for your specific case, and our team of experienced professionals will provide you support throughout the entire process.
If you’re interested in learning more about the ROPA method in Spain, we invite you to schedule a consultation with us, where we will provide you with detailed information about the process and answer any questions or doubts you may have. Don’t let anything stand in the way of making your dream a reality! Contact us today and start your fertility treatment in June to receive a €200 discount voucher, courtesy of IFA, or free standard lab tests upon beginning your fertility treatment.