What is ROPA?
ROPA (Reception of Oocytes from the Partner) also known as Reciprocal IVF, or Co-IVF, is when both members of a same-sex female couple participate in the pregnancy process. In a reciprocal IVF process, one partner’s eggs are used to generate the embryos, and then the created embryo is transferred to the uterus of the other partner, who will bear the pregnancy. So, it allows both women to actively participate in the reproductive process where one of them will be the genetic mother of the child and the other one the gestational mother.
Which Partner Acts as the Egg Provider, and which as the Gestational Carrier?
Before starting a ROPA treatment, it is important to decide which partner will donate the egg and which partner will carry the pregnancy.
If neither of the partners has fertility issues, either one can be the egg donor or gestational mother. However, there are some required tests to be performed by both partners before the IVF treatment to see which partner is more eligible to provide the eggs or carry the baby. Age factor is very critical while determining the partners’ role in ROPA process as women under the age of 35 tend to have healthier eggs and this results in better IVF success rates. If one of the partners is not suitable for providing the eggs then she can carry the pregnancy. After reviewing the test results IVF specialists will likely recommend on the partners’ role. The decision can depend on each individual case.
How is the ROPA procedure?
The partner contributing with her oocytes (eggs) will go through the ovarian stimulation phase by using fertility medication and also an egg retrieval process (the same process as a conventional IVF treatment).
Following the egg retrieval process from the egg-providing partner, the eggs are fertilized in the laboratory with the given sperm (from an anonymous or a known donor) to generate the embryos. Once the embryos are created they are observed and kept at the lab until the day of transfer (blastocyst stage).
In the meantime, the partner who will be the gestational mother (carry the baby) will start a treatment protocol to prepare her uterus for the embryo transfer.
Once the uterus of the gestational mother is ready for implantation, the best quality embryo is implanted inside the uterus. This completes the ROPA procedure.