+351 213 245 000 info@avaclinic.pt

Reciprocal IVF (ROPA Method) for Female Same-sex couples

Reciprocal IVF, also known as ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from PArtner) is becoming a very popular option between female same-sex couples. This method, only available through assisted reproduction techniques (IVF or ICSI), allows one of the partners to be the egg donor and the other to be the one carrying the pregnancy and giving birth. While the egg donor will be the genetic mother her partner will be the gestational carrier mother, and both will be biological mothers of the child.


Even though the embryo’s DNA will only be inherited from the genetic mother and the sperm donor, plenty of recent scientific studies show that during the gestational period the embryo’s genetic expression will also suffer alterations determined by the uterine environment of the gestational carrier mother (epigenetic influence). The embryo will not inherit genetic characteristics of the gestational carrier mother but its development in the uterus will uniquely determine the genetic activity and influence aspects as different (and important) as, for example, the child’s level of protection to certain diseases.

Both women will be legally considered parents of the born baby. By the Portuguese legislation the gestational carrier mother will be automatically considered a legal parent, even though it’s not the genetic mother of the child.

With Reciprocal IVF both women will be undergoing a specific hormonal treatment. One of the women will undergo hormonal stimulation in order to obtain her eggs and her partner’s uterus will be prepared to receive the embryo(s). Reciprocal IVF is then the only available treatment that allows both partners to be phisiccally and emotionally involved throughout the entire process. ♦