A lesbian couple in Texas became the mothers of a baby boy they each carried, a case doctors believe is the first in medical history.
The two women — 28-year-old Ashleigh and 36-year-old Bliss Coulter — married in 2015 and soon thereafter decided they wanted to have a child, according to WFAA-TV.
Usually, when a lesbian couple decides to have a baby, one woman will birth the child by using a sperm donor. But that wasn’t the case for the Coulters, who met with fertility specialists Drs. Kathy and Kevin Doody.
“Obviously, us being two women, we were like how can we make this happen?” Ashleigh said. “We felt like there has to be a way.”
The Doodys, who operate CARE Fertility in Bedford, Texas, were the first doctors to try a new technology called reciprocal effortless in vitro fertilization, in which two women can participate.
Bliss, Kathy explained, “went through the stimulation of her ovaries and the egg harvest.” But instead of placing the eggs and sperm into an incubator, they were placed into the chamber of the INVOcell device, which was then placed inside Bliss’ body.
The INVOcell device stayed in Bliss for five days, as early embryo development started.
“It turns out, not surprisingly, that the woman’s own body is a very good incubator,” Kathy explained. “We have livers, kidneys and lungs so we’re able to provide those same services to the embryo more naturally.”
Then, “like passing the baton,” as Kathy said, the embryo was transferred to Ashleigh, who carried the baby for the remaining nine months.
“She got to carry him for five days and was a big part of the fertilization, and then I carried him for nine months,” Ashleigh said. “So that made it really special for the both of us — that we were both involved. She got to be a part of it, and I got to be a part of it.”
When asked what she would say to critics who argue effortless reciprocal IVF is “not how God intended for things to happen,” Kathy replied, “I would respectfully disagree with someone. I think that family, children, a loving relationship is exactly everything that was meant to be in our world.”
Reciprocal effortless IVF generally costs around $8,000 with medication. Traditional IVF, on the other hand, can cost between $15,000 and $20,000, WFAA reported.
Today, Stetson — the couple’s son — is a healthy five-month-old baby.
A second lesbian couple have since gone through the same procedure and delivered a healthy baby girl in September.