Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 21, 2011
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is recognized as the world leader for education, advocacy and standards in reproductive medicine. Reproductive specialists gather annually at the ASRM conference to exchange research that advances professional knowledge and dialogue. This year, among other topics, the Reproductive Science Center of New England, presented the results of a retrospective review of their services to lesbian couples.
“Societal views and attitudes toward same-sex couples and their families are evolving,” explains Donna Cunningham of the Reproductive Science Center of New England. “More female couples are seeking treatment through IVF (in vitro fertilization). We evaluated a multi-year experience of providing IVF to lesbian couples for cycle outcomes and identification of potential factors and treatment options unique to this patient population.”
The data presented at the ASRM conference reflected that, at the Reproductive Science Center of New England, from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010, 60 lesbian couples initiated 86 IVF cycles resulting in 81 egg retrievals and an average of 10.3 eggs per retrieval. The average age of the partner providing the eggs was 36.5 years. Fertilization was achieved by conventional insemination or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) in 66 and 15 cycles respectively. An average of 2.0 embryos were transferred, with pregnancy rates per initiated cycle and transfer of 47.7% and 51.9%, respectively. In six of these couples, embryos were transferred to the uterus of the female partner (Reciprocal IVF), leading to 4 pregnancies (67%).
Reciprocal IVF, a term pioneered by RSC New England’s Medical Director,Samuel Pang, MD, is a treatment option for lesbian couples in which one female partner provides the eggs (fertilized using donor sperm) and the other female partner goes through embryo transfer, carries the pregnancy and gives birth. More lesbian couples are choosing this treatment model at the Reproductive Science Center because it enables both partners to play a physical role in the conception of their babies.
Conclusions of the RSC New England retrospective review indicate that in terms of expected outcomes, lesbian couples did at least as well as age-matched heterosexual IVF patients during the same time period. Bearing the cost of treatment, however, differs. Most lesbian patients do not have coverage for treatment. Some have limited coverage for diagnostic testing and medications. And, some insurance providers will cover IVF after a year of medically supervised exposure to sperm or if the patient has documented infertility.
The Reproductive Science Center of New England is among the 10 largest fertility treatment providers in the United States. In addition to diagnosis and treatment of infertility, RSC New England provides assisted reproductive services for gay, lesbian and transgender persons. The Reproductive Science Center has clinics in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
RSC New England is a partner member of Attain Fertility Centers, the largest network of infertility treatment providers in the nation.