October 29, 2018
It was just announced that two Texas mother may have been involved with a fertility first: a same-sex couple who each carried their baby boy.
Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter completed a relay race of sorts during the fertilization and conception of their son, Stetson, USA Today reports.
Typically, a same-sex couple — if it’s two females — would require a sperm donor in order to conceive. But the Coulters, who are married, wanted to be involved in the process and sought out a way to do so.
The pair discovered fertility specialists Dr. Kathy Doody and husband, Dr. Kevin Doody, in Bedford, Texas — the first doctors to perform reciprocal Effortless In Vitro Fertilization using radical technology, the process through which the Coulters were able to conceive.
According to ABC News, in Effortless IVF the eggs and the sperm are inserted by a device called an INVOcell capsule into a woman's vagina to simulate the conditions in an incubator, which is used in typical IVF.
With the new technology, Bliss was able to have her eggs fertilized and have embryos form inside her instead of using an incubator, which worked because "the woman has kidneys, a liver, and lungs, which allow the body acts as a natural incubator," Kathy Doody told USA Today. Five days later, they were removed and frozen until Ashleigh was ready to take them.
Doctors evaluated Ashleigh's uterus, gave her estrogen and then progesterone, waited for precisely the right time cycle-wise and transferred her wife's embryos to her body. Against all odds, they got pregnant on the first try. Ashleigh explained her excitement to USA Today:
"She got to carry him for five days and was a big part of the fertilization, and then I carried him for nine months, so that made it really special for the both of us — that we were both involved. She got to be a part of it, and I got to be a part of it."
In June 2018, exactly nine month later, Stetson was born healthy and without complications.
Doody told ABC News the reciprocal Effortless fertility method is more expensive than traditional Effortless because it involves two people, but still cheaper than traditional IVF. The Coulter’s treatment cost about $8,000, the USA Today reported. Plus, the couple has two additional frozen eggs to use in the future if they want more children.
Since the Coulters, another Texas-based same-sex couple has undergone Effortless Reciprocal IVF successfully through the same facility.