Image: Baby Stetson courtesy of Ashleigh Coulter Instagram
Texas lesbian couple Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter have made history by both carrying their son Stetson.
The couple, who married in June 2015, weren’t sure how to achieve their goal of having a baby as Bliss, 36, wanted a biological child but didn’t want to carry it.
The couple met with fertility expert Dr Kathy Doody from The Center for Assisted Reproduction (CARE Fertility) in Bedford, Texas, who told them that it was possible for both mothers to carry the baby using a procedure called Effortless Reciprocal IVF.
The procedure involved Bliss's eggs being harvested and placed into a small plastic device called an INVOcell, along with the donor sperm. The INVOcell was then placed in Bliss’s vagina, which worked as an incubator. The device was removed after five days, the fertilized embryos were frozen and 28 year old Ashleigh underwent hormone treatment.
Image: Bliss, Ashleigh and baby Stetson courtesy of Ashleigh Coulter Instagram
One of the embryos was then implanted in Ashleigh and 10 days later she was pregnant. Baby Stetson was carried to term and born in June 2018, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces.
Effortless Reciprocal IVF was developed to make IVF cheaper and more accessible because it doesn’t require an incubator. It is not an unusual treatment, what makes this case unique is that both mothers carried the baby.
Since baby Stetson was born, Doody has helped another couple in their thirties undergo the same procedure and deliver a healthy baby girl. Dr Doody says this technique is a great option for same-sex parents as both mothers get to play an active role in the pregnancy.
"It feels more natural for parents and it gives them a unique bond with their baby,” she told ABC News.