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Specific situations

Shared Motherhood

Shared Motherhood / ROPA Method / Reciprocal IVF
Portugal has one of the most progressive laws in Europe in the area of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). In our country, women's couples have exactly the same access rights to paternity as heterosexual couples.

This is an extremely simple process from the bureaucratic point of view, where pregnancy is obtained using sperm donated by an anonymous donor. From a legal point of view, both elements of the couple have exactly the same rights over children, regardless of the element of the couple whose eggs were used in the treatment (which may also be the result of double donation or donation of embryos) or who became pregnant and had the birth of the child/children.

The type of techniques to be used varies from women to women and depends essentially on factors such as the female age and the possible existence of gynecological complications. Unlike other countries where these techniques are applied, in the case of treatments involving in vitro fertilization and the creation of embryos in the laboratory, in Portugal both partners have precisely the same rights over the embryos obtained during the treatment, which means that they can only be used (or donated to another couple, for scientific investigation or destroyed) with the written permission of both elements of the couple. That is, even in a divorce or termination of the relationship, the person whose eggs were not used will have the same rights over the embryos than the companion who is "genetically mother" of them.

This is a guarantee that only exists in Portugal and that makes this the safest country for the realization of this type of treatments.

Steps to follow

In order to start the treatment, the first step is to schedule a fertility consultation at Ferticentro. In this consultation, you will have a complete gynecological examination (including endovaginal ultrasound) - this examination is done to both elements of the couple in situations of shared maternity / Reciprocal IVF. Clinical tests or other tests will be prescribed, which will help us determine the ovarian reserve,  as well as to check whether all the conditions are met for a healthy and risk-free pregnancy.

In the case of women living abroad (or simply residing in Portugal, but outside the region of Coimbra), this step can be done with the usual gynecologist, but it is necessary that Ferticentro send some specific recommendations beforehand.

This initial assessment is to see if treatment is possible, what is the probability of success, and what technique is most appropriate for each situation - is that women are not all the same and there are several factors that affect the probability of treatment success of PMA.



What techniques can be used?

The selection of the most appropriate technique for each case depends on multiple factors (being the most important the age of women) and the results of the initial clinical evaluation.

For couples of women, the following techniques can be applied:

- Intra-Uterine Insemination with donot sperm (also known as artificial insemination) [know more]
- InVitro fertilization with woman's own eggs and donor sperm  [know more]
- InVitro fertilization with donor eggs and donor sperm [know more]
- Shared Motherhood

Shared Motherhood / ROPA Method / Reciprocal IVF
Unlike what happens in other countries, in Portugal the Shared Motherhood technique (also known as ROPA or Reciprocal IVF) is available to all couples of women to whom this technique it is clinically possible and applicable, and marriage is not obligatory as a condition of access.

In this technique, one of the elements of the couple is subjected to ovarian stimulation, and their eggs are collected, fertilized with sperm from an anonymous donor in order to have embryos (from a technical point of view, the procedure is very similar to that described for the IVF with sperm donation ).
The embryos obtained are cultivated in laboratory for a few days and then transferred to the uterus of the partner - the one who will try to get pregnant. In this way both elements of the couple participate in and share the pregnancy, one giving the egg that originated the baby, the other because she got pregnant, had the childbirth and eventually also breastfed.

If, during a shared motherhood process, more embryos than those who are transferred to the uterus are obtained, the remaining embryos may be frozen and used for further treatment with the same element of the couple, or to give the partner possibility of also becoming pregnant of a child who would be genetically sister of the child already born. Of course, if the treatment does not work, these frozen embryos may also allow another attempt.

Shared Maternity (also known as ROPA or Reciprocal IVF) is the most modern and progressive solution for women's couples to have a family. However, as it is also a sophisticated medical procedure involving two persons and an anonymous donor, it is also a type of treatment that can only be carried out after rigorous medical evaluation and under the strict control of physicians specialised in ART.

If you would like to have more information, please send us a query.

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