A same-sex couple is believed to have made medical history after they both carried the same baby in a ‘priceless’ experience.
Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, from Mountain Springs, North Texas, underwent the revolutionary fertility treatment Effortless Reciprocal IVF so they could both be involved in bringing their child into the world.
Eggs were taken from Bliss and fertilized with donor sperm in the lab.
The embryo was then placed inside Bliss, who acted as an incubator for the first five days.
Bliss did not want to carry a child, so the embryo was then removed and placed in Ashleigh.
And in June this year, their ‘perfect’ son Stetson was born healthy at 8lbs 4oz.
Same-sex couple Ashleigh (right) and Bliss Coulter (left) made medical history after they both carried the same baby in a ‘priceless’ experience. Pictured with their five-month-old son Stetson, both wanted to be involved in bringing their child into the world
‘Perfect’ Stetson was born healthy at 8lbs 4oz last June after just one round of specialist IVF
Ashleigh and Bliss met six years ago and married in June 2015.
Although both hoped to one day have children, Bliss wanted a baby that was biologically hers but did not want to be pregnant.
Same-sex female couples usually have children via a sperm donor with one woman carrying the baby and the other adopting it.
However, both Bliss and Ashleigh wanted to be involved.
They first learned about Effortless Reciprocal IVF when a friend recommended they watch a news clip about the fertility specialist behind the treatment Dr Kathy Doody.
The couple made an appointment with Dr Doody, from the C.A.R.E Fertility Clinic in Bedford, in 2016.
Effortless IVF involves fertilizing an egg with a donor’s sperm in a device called an INVOcell capsule.
This device is then placed in a woman’s vagina, which keeps the embryo warm and removes toxins, like harmful gasses.
Usually Effortless IVF involves the same woman donating her eggs and then carrying the embryo.
Because the egg and embryo came from Bliss and were then put in Ashleigh, this is a unique medical case. Dr Doody believes it is the first of its kind.
Once the embryo was removed from Bliss, it had to be frozen until Ashleigh had undergone the necessary hormonal treatments to carry a child.
Just ten days after the treatment began, Ashleigh discovered she was pregnant.
‘Bliss always jokes she has golden eggs,’ she told ABC News.
Eggs were taken from Bliss and fertilized with donor sperm in the lab. The embryo was then placed in Bliss’ vagina, which acted like an incubator, for the first five days
Due to Bliss not wanting to carry a child, the embryo was then removed and put in Ashleigh
WHAT IS EFFORTLESS RECIPROCAL IVF?
Effortless Reciprocal IVF involves fertilising an egg with donor sperm in a device called an INVOcell capsule.
This device is then placed in a woman’s vagina, which keeps the embryo warm and removes toxins, like harmful gasses. This skips the step of incubating an embryo in a lab for traditional IVF.
Usually, in Effortless IVF the same woman donates the eggs and carries the embryo.
However, because the egg and embryo came from Bliss and were then put in Ashleigh, this is a unique medical case.
Once the embryo was removed from Bliss, it had to be frozen until Ashleigh had undergone the necessary hormone treatments to carry a child.
Ten days after the treatment began, Ashleigh discovered she was pregnant.
Speaking of her son’s birth, Bliss said: ‘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.’
Although Ashleigh carried Stetson, she believes Effortless IVF allowed her to share the experience with Bliss.
‘When I look at him I get to see my wife. It’s priceless,’ she said.
Though Bliss says she is more than happy with just one child, Ashleigh is convinced she can talk her wife into having another – and they have two frozen embryos on stand by.
Dr Doody believes Effortless IVF allows same-sex female couples to have a unique bond with their babies and makes for a more ‘natural’ pregnancy.
She added it can be cheaper than alternative fertility treatments due to the vagina acting as the incubator, rather than having another step in the lab.
Since the Coulters’ had Stetson, a second same-sex couple, also from North Texas, has also undergone Effortless IVF and had a healthy baby girl in September.
Bliss said she felt like’ the most blessed person in the whole world’ when Stetson, pictured at four months, arrived. Ashleigh said she sees her wife every time she looks at her baby’s face
Although Bliss is content with just one child, the pair have two frozen embryos on stand by. Ashleigh believes she will be able to persuade her wife to go through IVF again