SPONSORED: Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in a relationship. An increasingly popular choice amongst lesbian couples is ‘shared motherhood’ – a type of reciprocal IVF treatment where one woman donates her eggs to her partner.
The egg donor is the ‘biological mother’, whilst her partner carries the baby, experiencing the pregnancy and birth and is the ‘birth mother’.
The birth mother will influence the genetic make-up
Whilst DNA is inherited solely from the biological mother and sperm donor, studies have shown that the time spent in the womb also influences genetic changes – called epigenetics.
Whilst the baby will not inherit any of the birth mother’s characteristics, the time spent growing inside her will uniquely affect gene activity and influence aspects such as the child’s susceptibility to diseases.
Both women are named as parents on the birth certificate
Under UK law a child’s birth mother will automatically be their legal parent when they are born. This is true even if they are not their biological mother.
Changes to the law in 2009 mean that two female parents can be named on the birth certificate, with or without a male parent.
This rule usually only applies to married couples or couples in a civil partnership, but for children who are conceived through a UK fertility clinic, the birth mother can apply via the clinic to name another woman as a parent on the birth certificate, without the requirement of being married or in a civil partnership.
Sharing the IVF experience
Both partners need to go through different stages of the IVF cycle in order to collect and fertilize the eggs of one woman and prepare the womb of her partner to receive the embryo.
Many couples find that sharing their IVF journey is a wonderful bonding experience as you are sharing the demands of the treatment as well as the mixture of emotions that come with it.
At the London Women’s Clinic, we run monthly support groups where you can share experiences, offer peer support and swap ideas and resources on how to help cope during this time.
The group is very informal, lively and incredibly warm. It’s a mixture of heterosexual, same-sex couples and single women all attending with the same hope of creating their own unique family.
The London Women’s Clinic is often described as the fertility clinic of choice for same-sex couples. We have been treating lesbian couples wanting to start a family for more than 10 years, and indeed we were one of the very first clinics in the UK to do so. In this time, we have helped thousands of single and lesbian women in their wish to have healthy babies. Our caring and supportive medical staff are committed to offering all our patients the best chance of having a baby.