On April 23rd we celebrate love and culture

We celebrate “Sant Jordi” on this day. Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia and the main character of the legend that started the tradition of handing out flowers on April 23rd.

Why do we hand out flowers?

The legend tells the tale of an evil dragon that dwelled in a small village in Tarragona called Montblanc. In order to appease the dragon every day one person would be chosen at random to be sacrificed. One day that person was the princess. As the princess was approaching the dragon’s lair, a knight (Saint Jordi), appeared on a horse and rescued her.

And guess what? Sant Jordi killed the dragon, freeing the princess (and the people of Montblanc). And then from the dragon’s blood, the most beautiful and vibrant roses started to bloom. The knight picked one and offered it to the princess.

The tradition of giving out flowers in Catalonia goes back to at least the XV century. Back then in Barcelona, a rose festival would be organised for Saint Jordi aimed at all the couples. Saint Jordi is without a doubt the most romantic day for the people of Catalonia.

That’s the love part…

Why do we hand out books?

April 23rd is also a book festival. During the 1929 Barcelona World Expo, librarians took to the streets to promote reading. This was very a very successful event, and it later was changed to the 23rd of April.

The numbers

During this day everything revolves around culture and love. Most of the celebration takes place in Barcelona’s Rambla and in 2017 more than 7 million roses and 1.6 million books were sold!

A tip

Why not hand out poetry? Do you know about Elvira Sastre? Elvira Sastre’s poetry is simple, intense and exciting. It’s about love, loss, desire, pain, and feeling alive.

Trust us! Elvira Sastre has 136,000 followers on Twitter, 305,000 on Instagram and 342,000 on Facebook. Give it a try!

4 common misconceptions about children with lesbian mothers

You want to have a child, but like any parent, you don’t want them to suffer. In this post we uncover the truth about some common misconceptions that unfortunately are still prevalent in some parts of the community:

They will have psychological or adjustment disorders

Throughout your life you may have suffered discrimination and lack of acceptance from society but this has made you stronger. That’s why it’s more likely that you will nurture a strong family with better communication skills where everything is discussed openly. In turn, this will help your children be confident and adapt better to any situation. They will develop a stronger emotional intelligence.

Usually, in same-sexcouples the chores and duties are more equally distributed which makes your child develop a more tolerant and open mind.

In July of this year, a paper published by The New England Journal of Medicine clearly stated that children raised by same-sex couples where in no way different (be it their health, mental or emotional states) than those raised by heterosexual couples. They also don’t develop any behavioural or emotional problems and are not necessarily prone to psychological disorders.

They will miss not having a father figure

It’s unlikely that a child will miss something he’s never had. They will have many female and male figures in their lives: uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends…

The studies don’t show any changes in the development of gender roles in these children for instance, there are no changes in the ways they play.

They will be bullied

Bullying is a reality that emotionally affects many children. Some kids bully others for different reasons such as they wear glasses, are overweight or shy or simply because they don’t want to play…

The fact that your child has two mums won’t be any special reason for other children to bully them. It may be that these kids parents have a harder time understanding your situation than the kids themselves…

They will be homosexual too

Of course, that is a possibility. But it won’t be any higher just because they have two lesbian mums, this won’t skew their sexual orientation any which way. Surely this will give them a more open and tolerant attitude towards diversity.

No one should care if a child has a father and mother, a father, a mother, two fathers or two mothers. We are all people and we teach our children values and above all love. Society is always moving forwards which mean soon all these common misconceptions will be a thing of the past.

 

What if I don’t get pregnant right away?

When you start a fertility treatment you might feel that you will fall pregnant on the first attempt. When this doesn’t happen you start feeling doubtful and anxious with thoughts like: do I have fertility issues? Am I sick? These thoughts are common in not just lesbian couples but in any woman that is trying to get pregnant and is having some trouble doing so right away.

The success rate of different fertility treatments varies: artificial insemination is around 20-25% (going up to 60% by the third attempt), in vitro fertilisation is 70% and the ROPA method is closer to 90%. Even though the ROPA method has the highest success rate in fertility treatments, a truly successful pregnancy is linked to other factors such as:

The ovarian reserve: every woman is born with a limited number of oocytes. This number decreases in both quantity and quality after a woman turns 35 which makes becoming pregnant more complicated.

The condition of the uterus: the following fertility tests can be useful for lesbian couples in determining the morphology of their uterus and ovaries: transvaginal ultrasound, hysteroscopy, and endometrial biopsy.

The condition of the Fallopian Tubes: is another reference of your fertility. Appendicitis, peritonitis or varying levels of endometriosis may have affected the fallopian tubes.

There can also be issues with the pregnant mother’s endometrium.

All these risks factors are screened for in the initial fertility tests. There is also genetic testing in order to ensure the highest compatibility with the sperm donor. The sperm’s quality controls are very strict.

There’s no magic wand that will make sure you are successful but you can prepare yourself physically and emotionally for this journey. A well-balanced life and diet is very important. Some things you can do: reduce caffeine and alcohol, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

If your particular situation is getting the best of you, don’t hesitate in getting in touch with a specialist who can help reduce your anxiety. Undergoing a fertility treatment is an emotional roller coaster. Do things that make you happy: exercise regularly, go for walks, read, do yoga. Avoid any and all situations that produce stress. Treat yourself!

Shall we start project baby? Get in touch with us and we’ll answer all your questions.

The 9 most frequently asked questions about the ROPA method

The ROPA method is an artificial insemination procedure where both women are biological mothers to the same baby. Also known as double motherhood, it consists of retrieving the eggs from one woman, fertilising them with donor sperm and implanting them in the other woman who will carry the child.

We know that you have many questions and we will try to answer the most important ones here. If you think of other questions don’t worry just contact us!

1.Who is this treatment for?

This method is ideal for lesbian couples since you can both be biologically involved: donor mother and pregnant mother.

2.We want to have a baby. Do we need to be married?

Yes, in order to legally add your children to the civil registry, lesbian couples must be married. It is so written under law 14/2006 of Assisted Reproduction.

Since 2017 it’s not required that you show the document from the fertility clinic stating that the pregnant mother has undergone an assisted reproduction procedure.

3.Is the treatment included in the public health care plan?

The ROPA method is not included in the health care plan; you will have to go to a private clinic. Money is, of course, one of the main concerns. However, by going to a private clinic, you have the advantage of not having to wait and there are also no limits to how many times you can try.

4.What is the success rate of the ROPA method?

Usually, this method has a success rate of around 65-70 percent. The success rate can vary depending on factors such as age because from 35-37 years old the ovarian reserve declines considerably.

5.Can we pick who the donor mother and pregnant mother will be?

There are a number of tests performed before the treatment starts in order to determine which one would be more suited as a donor mother (usually the youngest of the two) and which as a pregnant mother. Some women who wish to be mothers not necessarily wish to be pregnant. Having all this in mind, it is ultimately your decision.

6.Can we choose the sperm donor?

Sperm donation is anonymous in Spain. The fertility clinic will be in charge of choosing the best match for you depending on some factors, for example, your physical characteristics or race.

If you plan on having more children with the same sperm donor it’s very important that you let your chosen clinic know this.

7.How much is the ROPA method?

The ROPA method is about the same price as a round of IVF (4000 to 8000 euros).

With us, the ROPA method is 4970€. This is the standard price; it could vary depending on the needs and characteristics of each patient. For a custom-made quote please contact our team directly. This price does not include the medications needed for each round.

8.What happens to the leftover embryos?

The leftover embryos can be kept cryogenically preserved (at a cost of 500 euros per year), anonymously donated to other couples or for research.

9.Must we undergo any treatment beforehand?

The testing is the same as an IVF procedure, the only difference being that you share it between the two mothers.

The partner who provides the egg must undergo a hormonal study to assess the quality and quantity of her oocytes, as well as blood tests, ultrasounds to assess her ovaries and various studies to rule out any chromosomal alterations.  The partner who carries the baby will also have blood tests, ultrasounds to assess the state of her uterus and various other studies to rule out any condition that might prevent the pregnancy from being carried to term.

After the preliminary tests, the donor mother will undergo ovarian stimulation and puncture in order to obtain and retrieve the best possible samples. Meanwhile, the pregnant mother will get a hormonal treatment, which will improve her endometrial lining in order to receive an embryo during the implantation process.

Remember if you have any questions all you have to do is contact us.

Endometrial preparation

The ROPA method consists of two parts: the partner that donates her eggs must go through ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, while the other partner will undergo hormonal treatment which will improve her endometrial lining in order to receive an embryo during the implantation process.

Why prepare the endometrium?

The endometrium is the innermost layer of the uterus and it plays a fundamental part in the gestational process and during pregnancy.

Endometrial thickness varies throughout the menstrual cycle. Implantation can only occur during certain days of the cycle, this is known as the “implantation window”, generally within the 19th-21st day of the cycle. If the embryo hasn’t been implanted then the endometrium disappears in the form of menstruation.

Treatment

Endometrial preparation consists of undergoing a hormonal treatment which imitates and optimises the natural cycle. This facilitates the implantation of the embryo and the chances of pregnancy.

The treatment is usually composed of progesterone and estrogen, which, depending on the type of medication may be given orally or via vaginal ovules or patches.

Endometrial preparation is key for the ROPA method. Estrogen is administered on the first days of the menstrual cycle and then progesterone is given on fertilisation day.

This medications may have some minor side effects such as bloating, fatigue and increased vaginal discharge.

Factors that contribute to a successful implantation

Optimal endometrium: when the lining is within 7 to 10 mm and contains three layers (triple-line endometrium) the chances of pregnancy are high.

Embryo quality: implantation is more likely with good quality embryos.

Endometrial receptivity: the implantation window may be too early or too late.

Also, the day the embryo develops and the endometrial receptivity must be perfectly synchronised.

 

Do you want more information about treatments or our clinic? Contact us! 

What is ovarian stimulation?

Once you’ve made the decision to embark on the journey of motherhood you might be concerned about the different procedures it entails. To remain calm you need to gather as much information about the different aspects such as the symptoms, procedures etc. Do you want to know more about ovarian stimulation?

What is ovulation?

The ovulation process in women is part of the menstrual cycle and it starts with the period and ends around 14 days later. During this process, only one egg will mature and be fertilised. A woman’s ovarian reserve is the number of eggs that they have at a specific time and it determines their fertility.

What is ovarian stimulation?

It’s a technique that increases the number of eggs in women who are undergoing assisted reproduction methods such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation using their own eggs. It’s also used for freezing eggs or egg donation.

It consists of administering hormones, which have been carefully controlled and tailored, through injections in order to allow the maximum number of eggs to mature throughout the cycle.

In the case of in vitro fertilisation, around 6 to 15 mature eggs can be extracted, but it must be done before the woman spontaneously ovulates. On the other hand, artificial insemination requires less stimulation since the aim is to obtain one or two eggs.

What is the treatment like?

The treatment is as follows:

  • Egg maturation: hormone treatment to ensure that one or more eggs mature.
  • Ovulation: hormone treatment to allow ovulation and the natural cycle to be controlled externally.

During these treatments there will be a number of clinical tests performed in order to determine its effectiveness.

 

Does it have side effects?

Hormonal treatments are usually risk-free for women but they do tend to have some side effects resembling the menstrual period. Some of the most common symptoms are abdominal swelling (not weight gain), breast tenderness, pressure in the ovaries, general malaise or dizziness.

Some things that can happen despite all of the medical check-ups and testing done are:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): the follicles produced are larger than normal.
  • The chance of a multiple birth is increased.

By the next day most women can go about their normal daily activities. The symptoms decrease after the egg retrieval.

It’s natural to be stressed at the beginning of the hormonal treatment. Having a healthy lifestyle and doing low impact sports (such as swimming, Pilates or walking) is beneficial in this process. There are also natural treatments that can help but these should be used under medical advice.

It’s natural to be stressed at the beginning of the hormonal treatment. Having a healthy lifestyle and doing low impact sports (such as swimming, pilates or walking) is beneficial in this process. There are also natural treatments that can help but these should be used under medical advice.

Remember if you have any questions all you have to do is contact us.

How do you handle awkward questions?

When you make the decision to become lesbian mothers it might scare you to think about how the people closest to you (family, friends, co-workers) might react. Some people still think that the best way to raise a child is in what they consider a traditional family, which is one composed of a heterosexual couple with a mum and a dad. This is a common misconception some people have.  Maybe you are the first same-sex couple they meet that have decided to have a child together. If this is the case you can fight ignorance with information.

 

Many other lesbian couples have gone through this. These are some of the most frequently asked questions you might have to deal with.  Some of these might sound interesting but others will just be uncomfortable to answer. Just remember to face them with love, humour and most of all information.

 

Who is the father? and, do you know anything about him?

Sperm donation is anonymous is Spain; therefore, we don’t know who’s the father. Neither the children nor the biological father have any contact and of course, he also has no legal rights over these children. Donors go through very thorough physical and psychological tests.

Which of you is the biological mother?

When it comes to being a mum there is no first or second place! We are both his mum.

Don’t you think your child will miss on having a father figure in his life?

Like most couples, we try to teach our children important values such as tolerance, respect, and equality. We give them the opportunity to be exposed to different activities and it’s up to them to choose which one they prefer.

Our son will always have male figures in his life with our families and friends.

Can lesbians be good mums?

Studies confirm that there is no difference in development amongst children raised by heterosexual couples or homosexual couples.  Children even tend to be more open-minded.

The parent’s sexual orientation has not been proven to influence the child’s orientation.

Who’s the mum and who’s the dad?

We are both their mother. We love them and share the same rights and responsibilities in the upbringing of our children.

How will they tell you apart?

This resolves itself very naturally. In our case we decided that he should call us “ama” and “mama”, but other times its mama-mami. With time they will identify and tell you apart without trouble. When you are from different nationalities or you speak another language it’s even easier: ama, mama, mum, and mamá…

Don’t you think that having two mums might make your child feel different?

The children raised by homosexual or lesbian couples are as happy and comfortable with themselves as the ones raised by heterosexual couples. There is no difference in the way they choose activities, interests, or even friendships and later in life their career or way of life.

Lesbian mums raise millions of children and nowadays there are more and more diverse families. Every child is different and some might be okay with it and others might have a hard time because they feel different (due to this or for any other reason). What matters is that they are honest about it.

Do you think someone might be mean to them because he has two lesbian mums?

Every mum’s main concern is that someone might be mean to their child. This could be for any reason not just because they have lesbian mums. It’s important that our children talk to us and tell us about these experiences and also that the school is aware and educate the children on family diversity.

Can you both register your child as your own?

Lesbian couples have to be legally married in order to register their children. We must also produce a document that states that we have used assisted reproductive technology.

The registry certificates now read parent A and parent B however, we still have a long road ahead in order to standardise most forms.

You are happy as a couple and now you want to start your own family so don’t let ignorance and lack of education get in the way of that. Always answer with love, information and most of all humour!

The 5 most frequently asked questions about sperm donation

Some of the most common questions we receive are about sperm donation. Can we pick our donor? Will the baby look like us? Where can you find a donor? Some of these questions are answered by the Spanish law 14 of 2006, which states that all gamete donations (sperm and eggs) are anonymous. Do you want to know more?

1. Can we pick the donor?

Sperm donation is completely anonymous. Which means that mothers can’t choose any of the baby’s traits. However, this also means that the children can’t meet their biological father and he also doesn’t have any legal rights over the children. The donor will not have any information on the women who decide to use his sperm.

Due to its anonymous nature, the donation can’t be done with a family member or friend’s sperm.

2.Where can we find a donor?

The sperm donation process is very simple. The man will go to an assisted reproduction centre and there he will undergo some testing in order to determine his eligibility. If his tests are satisfactory the entire donation process takes around 3 to 9 months in total. It consists of going to the centre every week to deposit a sample.

The donor must collect the sample in a sterile container every time. The sample must be collected after a period of 3 to 5 days of abstinence from masturbating (in order to guarantee the quality of the sperm).

Throughout this process the centre will conduct blood tests as many times as they deem necessary.

All the sperm samples are frozen and kept in a sperm bank.  Most assisted reproduction centres have their own sperm bank. Liquid nitrogen is used to keep the samples frozen safeguarding their original functional and morphological characteristics.

With IVF and other similar techniques, a woman can only have a maximum of three pre-embryos transferred every cycle.

3.Who can be a sperm donor?

Spanish law requires that the following criteria be met:

  • Must be between 18 to 35 years old.
  • Must go of their own volition and be aware of what the donation entails.
  • Be free of any infectious disease that might be transferable to offspring such as, HIV, syphilis, or hepatitis B or C.
  • Be free of any genetic, hereditary or infectious disease that might be transferable to offspring.
  • Must be in good mental and physical health. The donor will undergo phenotype and psychological testing, as well as any other clinical tests that are required.
  • Must have an excellent sperm quality.
  • The donor must not have more than 6 children in the country in order to avoid kinship (blood relationships).

If the man doesn’t fulfil all these criteria he won’t be considered for donation in any clinic in Spain.

The sperm must be able to survive the freezing process because all samples are frozen for at least 6 months. This is the minimum amount of time in order to determine the presence of a sexually transmitted disease in the sample.

4. Is sperm donation a business?

The donations are by nature altruistic and never for profit. The monetary compensation given is for any disruption in the life of the donor in regards to commute and work costs that might have occurred due to the donation process.

5. Will the baby look like us?

You can’t choose your sperm or egg donor in Spain. You also can’t choose specific physical traits that you might like. The clinic will choose and assign you a donor that has the closest physical appearance to you both.

They take into account the physical characteristics (race, skin colour, eyes, hair, etc.) and clinical characteristics (blood type, RH factor).

If the patient has uncommon physical characteristics and a donor can’t be matched with them the clinic can get samples from a foreign sperm bank.

Do you have more questions? Contact us and we’ll get in touch as soon as possible.

Barcelona, a hub for assisted reproduction techniques

During the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (EHRE) held in Barcelona from the 1st to the 4th of July more than 12.000 experts from 130 countries discussed the latest innovations in reproductive medicine.

Reproductive medicine is taking leaps and bounds in innovation and the main points discussed at this gathering were unexplained infertility and how to preserve fertility overall. They also tackled topics like how to prevent genetic diseases, failed implantations and premature depleted ovarian reserve.

Catalonia’s success rates for assisted reproduction techniques are amongst the highest, this is due to their use of advanced technology.

Half the women who undergo an assisted reproduction treatment in Catalonia are foreign.

In Catalonia more than 17.000 assisted reproduction treatments are performed every year and more than half the women (53%) are foreign. This number grows every year.   A lot of the patients are French due to their country’s laws and their proximity to Spain.

Spanish law allows assisted reproduction techniques that aren’t approved in other countries such as the shared motherhood method (ROPA) for female couples.

Do you want to start a family and you’d like to do it in Barcelona?

Here at Lesmaternity we can help you throughout the process:

  • Counselling: We take you through all the different fertility treatments available and how to choose the right one for you.
  • Services: Management of all your medical appointments and treatment schedules. We can also help with travel and lodging.
  • Follow up: We keep in touch during and after your pregnancy.

Contact us with all your questions so we can discuss them.

Spain, the top European country in assisted reproduction

If your dream is to become parents you should take a look at Spain, since it’s the ideal country to get these treatments done. According to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), Spain is at the forefront of assisted reproduction treatments in Europe.

In 2014, 116,688 IVF procedures and 40,177 artificial inseminations were performed in Spain. This data was gathered by the Spanish Fertility Society (known in Spanish as SEF), which polls 278 fertility clinics throughout Spain and keeps these records in the National Registry. Assisted reproduction techniques are very common in Spain. According to SEF 7.91% of children in Spain that year were born via these techniques.

Why is this? The reason is their high quality of medical care and clearly cut laws. On top of that, the cost is good value for money considering the services that are offered.

The quality of medical care

The success rate in Spain is one of the highest when it comes to reproductive medicine.

Spanish medicine is well known for assisted reproductive techniques and has an excellent reputation for it worldwide. The medical side of assisted reproduction is highly controlled in our country as it is subject to European laws. Every year, clinics must undergo audits and reviews, which are kept at the Ministry of Health. These records are public (you can view them through the SEF or Ministry of Health website).

The topic of multiple births has always been a controversial one but there’s some good news on that front. The percentage of double or multiple births has been steadily declining and, in 2014 in Spain, the rate went down to 20.4% for IVF and 11.5% for artificial insemination.

Clearly cut laws

Many countries have laws that are restrictive or incomplete. The law in Spain in regards to egg donation is different than other countries when it comes to whether or not it’s an anonymous donation. In the UK and France it’s not anonymous and in Italy, the law has changed but it’s still unclear. Understanding this is important since 30% of the procedures performed require some sort of donation.

Spanish laws allow all reproductive treatments available today to be performed in Spain.

Competitive pricing

Due to the complexity of the procedures (labs, incubators, specialists, research and so on) the cost is high. However, in Spain this cost is considered to be of very good value.

This makes Spain renowned worldwide and therefore many patients prefer to come here to get their procedures done. In 2014, 12,240 rounds of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and artificial insemination were performed on people who were residents of other countries.

 

Shall we start Project Baby? Do you want more information about treatments or our clinic? Contact us!