What is it?
The ROPA method allows a same-sex female couple to both be involved and share motherhood. With this technique, one of them donates the eggs and the other one carries the embryo, both being mothers of the baby.
How IS it DONE?
The woman who is going to donate the eggs will undergo an ovarian stimulation to make several follicles grow instead of just one, which is what would happen in a natural cycle. For this, daily subcutaneous injections will be given. Periodical ultrasound monitoring and blood tests will be carried out to assess the growth of the follicles. This treatment usually lasts around twelve days.
When we see on ultrasound that the follicles are ready, the egg collection is programmed. This intervention is a simple procedure that is carried out in the operating theatre, under sedation and usually doesn’t last more than ten or fifteen minutes. At the end, the patient will stay for approximately 2 hours under observation in the clinic and will then be able to go home maintaining relative rest for the rest of the day.
Our embryology team will collect the eggs, and once the best male donor has been selected, we will proceed with the in vitro fertilization.
The choice of the male donor follows rigorous selection protocols consisting of psychological, physical and analytical tests to rule out the presence of diseases. In addition, the maximum physical resemblance to the pregnant mother is sought (the other already provides her genetic information in the egg).
After fertilization, the embryos remain in special incubators within the laboratory, using special culture media to guarantee their correct development. Throughout the process, embryologists analyse their morphology and the number of their cells to determine the quality of each embryo. The embryos remain in these incubators for five or six days, until they reach the blastocyst stage.
Another very important part of the success of this treatment is the synchronization of the embryonic development in the laboratory with the preparation of the endometrium (tissue inside the uterus where the embryo must implant). The mother receiving the embryo must perform a hormonal treatment that prepares the uterus to receive the embryo. It is a very simple treatment with oral, transdermal and / or vaginal medication. The entire treatment will be monitored by our doctors, who will be in charge of solving all the doubts that may arise throughout the entire process.
Through embryo transfer, we place an embryo inside the uterus. A simple and totally painless procedure.
The same day of the transfer, if there are more embryos that have reached the stage of a good-quality blastocyst, they are frozen using a vitrification process, so that they can be transferred later in a subsequent cycle without the need for ovarian stimulation or egg collection.
10-12 days after the transfer, we will perform a blood test to determine the presence of a hormone, beta-HCG, which will tell us for sure if the desired pregnancy has been achieved.
If living in another country, all the monitoring can be done with a trusted gynaecologist in your home-town only having to come to Ovoclinic for the egg collection and the transfer 5 days later.
How to decide?
The decision about which role each one will have, that is, which one will provide eggs and which will give birth to the baby, is the couple’s decision. In many cases, both wish to be mothers but only one of them has the desire of carrying a pregnancy. When both wish to carry and only want to have one child, the gynaecologist will advise, based on the characteristics of both, which would be the best option to maximize their chances.
For many couples, it is the perfect method since it allows both mothers to become biologically involved, although obviously, biology is not needed for a baby born in a family of two mothers to be as much a child of both as in the case of the ROPA method.
- In case of wanting a second pregnancy with frozen embryos from a previous ROPA treatment, should the pregnant mother be the same as in the first transfer?
In the case of the ROPA treatment, the embryos belong to the couple, so the embryos can be transferred to either mother as long as there are no contraindications a pregnancy.
- What does Spanish Law say about maternity in lesbian couples? What legal requirements does the ROPA treatment have?
When a lesbian couple has an assisted reproduction treatment and has a child, both will be legally recognized as mothers as long as they are married. In the case of unmarried couples or unmarried partners, at present only the one who gives birth to the child may be registered as a mother, and the non-pregnant mother must go through an adoption process to be legally registered as a mother.
In the case of wanting to go through a ROPA treatment, marriage between both women is mandatory.