If you needed further proof that science is making brilliant leaps and bounds, this story of two mums carrying the same baby will totally seal the deal.
Two mums and a baby
Texan mums Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter are now parents to a healthy and happy five-month-old baby boy named Stetson. Some help from an amazing procedure called Reciprocal Effortless In Vitro Fertilization (or Reciprocal effortless IVF) meant they were both able to carry their little boy.
The couple met in 2012 and went on to marry in 2015 and they say they knew they wanted to have a baby together from early on.
“I was very much interested in having children, but Bliss was a little iffy on it,” Ashleigh told ABC News.
“I wanted a child that was biologically mine, but I did not want to carry the child,” Bliss clarified.
Read more about IVF:
- “It’s not a matter of choice”: Why egg freezing is not about being uptight
- An amazing 1 in 25 Australian babies is welcomed with help from IVF
- Ever wondered why men become sperm donors? We go straight to the source
Growing a baby together
Ashleigh told ABC News that when same-sex couples become parents via IVF “one of them typically births the child and they use the sperm donor … The other mom has to adopt the child.”
The couple wanted to avoid this – and for both of them to have a clear biological connection to their baby.
They’d heard a little about IVF options but weren’t quite sure what was possible. When a specialist assured them there might be a way they could both carry a baby, they were understandably over the moon.
That method was Reciprocal effortless IVF and it combines two IVF procedures:
Reciprocal IVF – This process allows one woman’s eggs to be extracted and fertilised in a laboratory to form an embryo. The embryo is then placed in the other woman who carries the baby to term.
Effortless IVF – This is where the eggs and the sperm are introduced in a special capsule called an INVOcell device. The inner chamber of the INVOcell device is then placed into a woman’s vaginal cavity – mimicking the conditions in an incubator – in the hopes that the eggs are fertilised and form embryos.
image via InvoBioscience
Eggs and embryos by Bliss, baby-growing by Ashleigh
Ashleigh and Bliss’ doctor Dr Kathy Doody was the genius that combined the two, leading to “the first time where both of the mothers physically carried the baby.”
“With Ashleigh and Bliss, Doody harvested eggs from Bliss and introduced it to sperm from a donor in the INVOcell,” ABC News reports.
“It was then placed in Bliss to allow fertilisation and formation of the embryos for five days. The embryos were then removed and frozen until Ashleigh was ready to receive them.”
First time’s a charm
Ashleigh underwent some hormone treatment to get her body prepped, then she had an embryo implanted and …. fell pregnant on the first go!
Peachy baby Stetson was born around nine months later – the first baby to be carried by both of his mums. The gravity of this amazing feat has not passed his lovely mums by.
“The moment he was born, I just thought to myself, ‘I felt like I was the most blessed person in the whole world’ because he was just perfect in every way,” Bliss said.
A delighted Ashleigh, meanwhile, is so chuffed she’s keen to try for baby number two.
What a brilliant and incredible story. Congratulations to Bliss and Ashleigh!