For lesbian and trans couples who want to start a family through pregnancy, there are a ton of initial questions to ask: "Who is going to carry the child?" sits at the top of the list for many. While this can be a complicated decision to navigate, female-founded company Future Family is trying to make the entire process easier thanks to its reciprocal IVF plan, which consists of the transfer of one partner's egg — which has been fertilized by a sperm donor — into the other partner's uterus.
"We take the intended parent who's going to be the egg source, and we put her through the same process that we would put anybody through, whether they were going to do egg freezing or an IVF cycle," Nicole Fry, a nurse at Future Family, told POPSUGAR. "We start her with injections and bring her to egg retrieval. Then, we put the eggs together with donor sperm, whether it's from a known source or it's anonymous donor sperm. We put it together, create the embryos, and then we transfer an embryo into the other partner."
At Future Family, couples or individuals interested in reciprocal IVF also get a ton of benefits with a "Trying to Conceive" Membership Plan (starting at $300) in the form of 24/7 fertility coaches, built-in discounts on medication, sperm coaching to help choose a donor source, and free fertility testing for both partners, to name a few. And while reciprocal IVF typically comes with a hefty upfront price tag of around $20,000, Future Family's reciprocal IVF plan comes with a one-time payment of $898 on top of a monthly $350 fee, which can be financed.
For Besare and Marissa, a lesbian couple that wanted to start their family, Future Family's plan sounded like a pretty amazing opportunity.
"From that moment forward, we didn't have doubts; we knew we were going to create our family through reciprocal IVF."
"I always knew I wanted to be a parent and wanted a family," Besare told POPSUGAR. "I remember hearing about reciprocal IVF, which sounded amazing. When we decided to have a baby, we started the process by calling IVF clinics to get information. We were young, the whole situation was complex, and no one gave us a chance."
Although Besare and Marissa were overwhelmed at first, they finally found what they were looking for when they looked into Future Family. "When we were connected with Future Family, really everything changed for us," Besare said. "From that moment forward, we didn't have doubts; we knew we were going to create our family through reciprocal IVF. We're so immensely grateful for their support."
With Future Family's plan in place, Marissa and Besare immediately began to embark on their reciprocal IVF journey. "From the start, we had an idea that I was going to carry and Marissa was going to be the egg donor. We were just desperate to make it happen," said Besare. "The process before the pregnancy took three months, including the consultation. We started Nov. 17, and by Feb. 14, I was pregnant! We'll never forget the moment we were told on Valentine's Day."
While Besare and Marissa were over the moon at the prospect of becoming parents, going through the steps of IVF can be trying for anyone, whether going the reciprocal route or not.
"A lot of people make comments to me or Marissa about our nontraditional path to pregnancy. You have to make sure you can handle everything."
"The experience was not easy," said Besare. "It was hard physically and emotionally for us both. I'm sure every couple who goes through IVF knows it's tough. But we were so happy to have our fertility coach, Nicole, a phone call away 24/7. We'll joke now, 'What are we going to do when we can't talk to Nicole?' Truly, when you have that support you need, you can do anything."
Regardless of the challenges that come with the IVF process in general, the end justifies the means for Marissa and Besare, as they now share a beautiful baby boy. And Besare and Marissa would recommend the reciprocal IVF process to other couples interested in having kids.
"Even with the highs and lows, I hope more people choose reciprocal IVF. It is such a connecting experience with your partner, it's truly amazing," explained Besare. "A lot of people make comments to me or Marissa about our nontraditional path to pregnancy. You have to make sure you can handle everything. You have to be strong and remember at the end of the day, it's about you and your partner. And families come in all shapes and sizes, and yours is yours alone, and you can make it in any way you want. We were able to do that through reciprocal IVF."