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.

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! 

fertilidad lesbianas

Fertility in lesbian couples. How to decide which one will be the implanted mother?

Perhaps you both want to experience motherhood and be biologically involved in the process.

You might also want some advice on who’s having the baby or you may be looking for the best chance of becoming pregnant.

In both cases, fertility testing can be a solution for lesbian couples.

The fertile life

The most fertile window begins at around 20 years old, although ovulation has begun at about 14 years old.

At 30, female fertility starts declining.

First, it does so slowly, and by 36, the process accelerates considerably. So by the time you decide to have children, realise you can afford them, discussed it in depth with your partner and you’re both ready, it may already be too late for your biological clock. That fertile window might have closed.

Not all women are built the same, so if you are shocked by the statistics, keep on reading.

Here are some fertility factors for lesbian couples!

 

Fertility indicators

Ovarian reserve

Since before we are born, we are sexual beings.

In the case of women, we come into the world with a number of oocytes, which we can use during our lifetime. These are the ones that allow us to become pregnant, but they are available in a limited capacity, and we will never be able to produce new oocytes.

Menstruation is proof of how our body is prepared for pregnancy. Regardless of menstruation, contraceptive use or pregnancies, the number of oocytes will decrease over time.

Aging can damage the genetic material of your eggs. It’s a natural process, but if you want to stop the rate at which this happens, you can do a lot of things! You can stop smoking and drinking alcohol and start having better stress management techniques. We suggest you try this sometime.

We are sure you’ll notice it in your physical and mental health too!

 

The state 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.

Having a pregnancy plan is important in order to prevent miscarriages or difficulties in embryo implantation due to changes in the uterus. Testing is only one part in achieving a successful pregnancy.

 

The state of the fallopian tubes

Project baby is already underway, so it is important to consider that the fallopian tubes are another reference for fertility in lesbian couples. In fact, it is the first thing that is studied when pregnancy attempts are unsuccessful in heterosexual couples.

Appendicitis, peritonitis or varying levels of endometriosis may have affected the fallopian tubes. The recommended course of treatment is three natural or artificial inseminations before proceeding with a hysterosalpingogram.

This test uses x-rays to assess the level of permeability of the fallopian tubes and uterus. It can be somewhat uncomfortable since it consists of using a speculum in the vagina to clean it, and inserting a tube through it.

 

Now that you know about the fertility tests for lesbian couples, shall we start Project Baby? 

lesmaternity ser madre lesbiana

What you need to know to become a lesbian mother

The decision has been made and you’re sure of it! You’re going to be lesbian mums together, but where do you start? Where do you go first? What methods are there?

We know you are full of questions and in this post we’re going to solve them all. We’re here for you!

 

Doctor’s visit

Now that you have made the decision to become a lesbian mother you should start by visiting a medical centre.

During this visit, you will undergo general health tests to measure your overall fitness. They will also test different fertility indicators, paying close attention to the ovarian reserve, which is very important to this process.

To ensure the quality of the oocytes, egg freezing is becoming more and more popular. This procedure guarantees that, regardless of the age at which you decide to get fertility treatments, the oocytes will be good quality.

 

Which method should you choose to become a lesbian mother?

Now that you know your health and fitness you have to decide which treatment or method to use to become a mom.

 

Traditional method

The traditional method of having sex with a man is one of the options for becoming a mother. However, it does not ensure effectiveness and is not ideal for lesbians.

 

Artificial insemination

This involves placing the fertile spermatozoa in the uterus at the time of ovulation. The success rate is between 15% and 30%, which is difficult, but not impossible.

 

In vitro fertilization

In this method the eggs are extracted from one of the mothers; they are fertilised in a laboratory and then put back into the mother’s uterus. It is complex, but it has a 60% success rate.

This option is the one most likely to succeed.

 

Reception of Oocytes from the Partner (ROPA)

The ROPA method is the same as in vitro fertilization, but fertilised eggs are introduced into the uterus of the other mother.

Using this method both of you will actively participate in the process of becoming biological mothers: one as a genetic mother and the other as a pregnant mother.

The success rate is 60%, and it gives you both the chance of being involved in the process.

It is certainly the best option to become a lesbian mother with your partner.

 

Legal advice

The legal aspects are also an important part of becoming a lesbian mother. By law, the donation of eggs and sperm is anonymous.

Since 2005, Spanish legislation has allowed gay marriage; this provides lesbians with the same equal rights as heterosexual couples in matters such as assisted reproduction.

Under law 14/2006 of May 26, all women of legal age, under free consent, may undergo an assisted reproduction technique regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.

This law was amended to recognise that both mothers are the parents of a child born through assisted reproduction techniques, regardless of the marital status of the couple.

However, in the ROPA method, the couple’s situation is important. Since it is not an egg donation, but the use of your partner’s embryos.

The legislation clearly states that these can only be provided “by the woman or spouse”, and therefore you must be married.

This is not the case with other assisted reproduction techniques. However, the ROPA method carries a higher emotional burden for lesbian mothers than other procedures.

If you have any questions you can contact us or go to an LGBTI association to receive all the legal information on this subject.

 

What is your decision?

We know that there are many decisions to make, but the most important one has already been made: you want to be mums.

You should choose a method depending on your marital status, but remember that the most important thing is mutual support.

Once you have considered both your medical and relationship status, the next step is to choose which one of you will be the pregnant mother and which will be a genetic mother, or both, if you choose the ROPA Method.

Together you will begin one of the most beautiful journeys. It’s time; you’re ready.

How did you start? Tell us your experience!

lesmaternity congelacion ovulos lesbianas

Why is egg freezing important if you’re a lesbian?

There have been a lot of rumours about egg freezing in recent years. Even though it’s becoming more and more popular, you may not fully understand it or you might need more information in order to wrap your head around it.

When is the best time to do it? Why is it so important?

We’ll clear up all your doubts.

 

What is egg freezing?

It is a process by which a woman’s oocytes are frozen when she is most fertile so that her eggs are more viable for a later pregnancy.

Therefore fertility is preserved since you can use them whenever you want. You can start the gestation process at any time knowing that there is a greater chance of success.

 

Why is egg freezing done?

Each woman is born with all the eggs she will have during her lifetime, approximately one million. Over the years, these oocytes are lost naturally little by little.

By freezing the eggs, a number of oocytes can be isolated and preserved which can then be used later. These will have the same quality that they had at the time of their extraction.

You can retrieve and use your eggs at any time, whenever is most convenient to you and due to this preservation method they will be exactly the same as when they were extracted.

You can be mothers when you decide!

 

How is it done?

The freezing system is based on vitrification: cooling the cells so fast that it prevents the formation of crystals. This method ensures a 90% egg survival rate.

According to Spanish law, frozen eggs can be used until the woman reaches the age of 50.

 

When is the best time to freeze your eggs?

The best window to freeze your eggs is between the ages of 20 and 35 since this is considered the best quality ovarian reserve. From 35 onwards everything suddenly changes because according to gynaecologists, at that age, 90% of the oocytes have been lost.

Today, 65% of the women who are freezing their eggs are between 35 and 39 years old, an age at which they have already started to experience a natural decline in the quality of their oocytes.

The chances that a woman will be able to give birth after the age of 38 are minimal. This is due to the fact that chronological age does not usually coincide with biological age.

That’s why we encourage you to do it as soon as possible.

 

Why should you freeze your eggs?

You never know what the future holds.

You could be at a stage in your life where you reject the notion of motherhood altogether. However, later you realise that you do want to become a mother, but have too many problems achieving it.

That is why egg freezing is a very successful technique.

We need to be in excellent health at the time of extraction, it’s important that you don’t delay this decision and go through with it as soon as possible.

In addition, certain medical treatments can cause irreversible damage to the eggs. By freezing them, we secure our chances of becoming mothers once we have overcome the disease.

 

What does egg freezing have to do with my sexual orientation?

Egg freezing indirectly affects you as a lesbian.

Of course, it is every woman’s decision regardless of her sexual orientation, but it is safe to say that lesbian women change partners more often. So, if your decision is to be a mother, make it happen. It doesn’t matter if it’s today or tomorrow. You’ll decide if you’ll be a single lesbian mother or if you will have a loving partner to share your motherhood with.

Freeze your eggs today so you can have your baby at the right time.

The quality of your eggs will play a huge part in increasing your chances of a successful pregnancy later when you decide to go ahead with an assisted reproduction procedure.

Your dreams of becoming a lesbian mum are closer due to egg freezing.

 

Are your eggs ready? What do you think of this process?

Lesmaternity reserva ovarica

Ovarian reserve: what we need to know about our eggs to become lesbian mothers

The ovarian reserve is considered as the number of eggs that a woman has at any given time, which in turn determines her level of fertility.

If your ovarian reserve is high you are much more likely to become pregnant through gestational methods.

Do you have any questions? We will answer them here.

 

Let’s start at the beginning

Each woman is born with a specific number of oocytes, close to one million, which is approximately halved at puberty.

In each menstrual cycle, only 400 to 500 oocytes reach ovulation and the rest are lost along the way.

The period of time in which a woman is most fertile (when there are good quality and quantity of oocytes) is between the ages of 16 and 30. From a physiological point of view, this is the ideal time to become a mum.

From 35 onwards pregnancy becomes more complicated as your ovarian reserve decreases eventually exhausting itself around 40 in menopause.

Some factors that can affect ovarian reserve are cancer treatments, obesity, environmental pollution, exposure to pesticides and toxins, stress and an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

What should we do to improve our ovarian reserve?

Even though our ovarian reserve deteriorates with age, specialists advise us that before becoming pregnant we:

  • lead a healthy life,
  • play sports
  • maintain a balanced nutrition.

We have to prepare ourselves, not only with fertilization methods, but also with good habits in order to become lesbian mothers.

Everything we do affects our bodies and we want our eggs to be in good shape to start an assisted reproduction method with our partner.

In order to increase your chances of becoming pregnant, it’s recommended that the one with the best ovarian reserve be the one who provides the egg in the ROPA method.

 

How do we measure ovarian reserve?

In order to measure the ovarian reserve women must undergo a hormonal profile:

*FSH: follicle stimulating hormone

A sex hormone that regulates the menstrual cycle, it’s released by the pituitary gland to stimulate ovarian development.

*AMH: anti-mullerian hormone

The ovary releases it where the egg develops.

*E2: estradiol

As the follicles develop, the release of estradiol increases, so by measuring this hormone we can assess the ovarian reserve.

*AFC: Antral follicles count

This test involves a transvaginal ultrasound where the accumulation of liquid in the inner cavity is measured. This gives us an approximate idea of a woman’s ovarian reserve.

 

Why is it important to measure the ovarian reserve?

Knowing the evolution of the ovarian reserve is fundamental in determining a woman’s reproductive potential.  

This lets us know in what way you will respond to ovarian stimulation treatments.

And if your eggs are great, why not help other moms-to-be? Have you heard of egg donation?

Don’t waste any more time. Shall we begin?