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Reciprocal IVF – What is the pregnancy success rate?

tasa de embarazo método ROPA

In the last few years, the number of gay women who have undergone fertility treatment has increased by 35%. Reciprocal IVF, also known as co-IVF or sometimes referred to as the ROPA method, is the most sought after technique for same sex female couples to have a baby, as it is the method which is most similar to them both having a biological child. One women provides genetic load in the form  of the egg, and the other carries the pregnancy and gives birth. This shared experience can making having a baby an even more beautiful experience.

If you are thinking about starting a process of this type, you are surely asking yourself what the success rates of co-IVF are. In this blog we explain them in detail and give you information about the factors than can influence the success of achieving pregnancy.


Before we discuss pregnancy rates achieved with reciprocal IVF, we must distinguish between success rates per cycle and accumulated success rates, in other words, if we look at the pregnancy rate per transfer or we add up all the attempts with the embryos obtained.

In general, clinics usually publish their accumulative rates, they are higher and include all the transfers performed in the treatment. For example, if in an egg retrieval 8 eggs are obtained, of which 6 are fertilized and viable, and pregnancy is achieved on the third transfer, it can be counted as a success in the first treatment, or as a 30% success rate per embryo transfer, for having been achieved in the third transfer.

Taking into account the data presented in the register of the SEF (Spanish Fertility Society) and the estimated accumulated pregnancy rate in donor egg cycles after performing frozen and fresh embryo transfers, we see the following percentages:

  • Between 41.7 and 74.1% success rate for women under 35 years old.
  • Between 35.3 and 76.4% success rate for women 35 to 39 years old.
  • Between 41.9 and 72.5% success rate for women over 40 years old


Although in the majority of cases, a couple will come to the fertility clinic with a good idea of the roles that each women will play in the pregnancy, it is essential to conduct an analysis on both women to evaluate certain factors that will determine which of them is the most apt to provide the eggs and which to carry the pregnancy. Amongst these factors are age, if any pathology exists and the ovarian reserve.

In principal, if the woman is young and doesn’t have any prior diseases, the possibilities of pregnancy with reciprocal IVF are very high, as they are not patients who have come to the clinic because of fertility problems, as is usually the case for heterosexual couples who attend an assisted reproduction center. Furthermore, by using donor sperm that has already passed previous testing, they are ensuring that the chances of success are not compromised.

The best chance of success is when the younger of the two women is the one who provides the eggs. If the couple are the same age, it will be the fertility study that determines which one has the best ovarian reserve and the healthy lifestyle habits of each will also be evaluated.

  • Ovarian reserve: this can be determined via a blood test to measure the levels of anti-Müllerian hormone.
  • Uterine characteristics: the condition of the uterus of the woman who will carry the pregnancy is also very important, as any preexisting condition, pathology or anatomical problem can considerably reduce the probability of the embryo implanting correctly and giving rise to pregnancy.
  • Healthy lifestyle habits: the ideal situation is that both women lead a healthy lifestyle, the genetic mother as much as the gestational mother. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and pulses along with regular exercise, all help to improve fertility.
  • No smoking and a moderate consumption of alcohol.
  • Maintain a healthy mind and attitude: When we start a fertility treatment, it is normal to feel nervous and / or anxious. However, it is important to try and manage and process these emotions as stress is a very negative influence when trying to get pregnant. As such, as motivated as we are to start, it is important to enjoy the process and keep calm.

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