Reciprocal IVF (ROPA)

What is reciprocal IVF method

The reciprocal IVF method (Reception of Oocytes from the Partner) is an assisted reproduction treatment for female couples that allows both to become biological mothers. One provides her oocytes and the other develops the pregnancy.

If you and your partner want to have a baby and you both want to play an active role in the pregnancy, the best option is oocyte transfer from the partner (Reciprocal IVF). This treatment is specifically for lesbian couples and allows one of you to contribute the eggs while the other carries the pregnancy, so you will both be the biological mothers and have the same rights and duties with respect to your future child.

The technique is widespread but is currently only performed at private centres in Spain when clinically indicated and when the two women are legally married. Catalonia is an exception because the Catalan Civil Code permits egg donation between partners in a couple even if they are not married, so long as they are residents in Catalonia is applicable to them.

What are the phases of donor treatment

One of you will be the egg donor (according to medical indication), so you will need to undergo a cycle of In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). You will be given hormone stimulation to obtain the eggs.

Ovarian stimulation

A hormonal treatment to encourage the production of oocytes. Administration of the treatment lasts for 10 to 12 days and is easy and comfortable so it can be done at home. However, monitoring is needed to check progress and determine the optimum time to retrieve the eggs.

Follicular puncture

The technique used to remove the eggs. This is done on an outpatient basis with sedation (a mild anaesthesia).


The eggs obtained are inseminated with the sperm of an anonymous donor from the bank. The donor is selected, as determined by Spanish legislation, so as to have the greatest possible physical similarity to the recipient; he will also be assigned based on genetic suitability.

Fertilisation and culture of embryos

The day after insemination, it is possible to find out how many eggs were fertilised; the embryos will then remain in culture for 3 to 6 days. Their development is monitored and the better quality ones are selected for transfer to the recipient.

What are the phases of the recipient’s treatment

The other will be the recipient and will undergo uterine preparation with oestrogens (hormones) to prepare the uterus for implantation of the embryo.

Preparation of the endometrium

The recipient begins hormone treatment to encourage the implantation of the embryo and development of the pregnancy. This process is synchronised with the hormonal stimulation of the partner (donor).

Embryo transfer

Once correct embryonic development is reached, the embryo or embryos to be transferred are selected and inserted in the uterus via the vagina. The process is quick and painless and requires no anaesthesia or time off work.

Confirmation of the pregnancy

Roughly 9 to 11 days later, a blood test is performed to check that the embryo was implanted and confirm the pregnancy.

Who it is for

The Reciprocal IVF method is exclusively for lesbian couples wishing to participate jointly in the gestation of a child. A medical assessment is needed for this.

Hence, and in order to assess your chances of success and detect potential problems or risks, the medical history of both partners must be reviewed and both are given a full gynaecological check-up.

Success rates

1st attempt
2nd attempt
3rd attempt

Why choose us

Personal attention

We will guide you through the entire process, offering personalised treatments suited to your needs. You can also contact our medical team directly at any time.

We are pioneering in reproductive medicine

We have more than 80 years’ experience behind us and a team of highly qualified and specialised professionals. The first Spanish test-tube baby was born in our clinic (1984) and Spain’s first egg donation treatment was carried out here, which culminated in the birth of twins (1988).

Extensive experience, quality and cutting-edge technology

We have one of the top in vitro fertilization laboratories in Europe where we perform over 3,000 cycles (assisted reproduction techniques) each year. We offer the latest advances in assisted reproduction, such as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and real-time monitoring of embryo development (dynamic monitoring).

Facilities and 24-hour emergency service

All consultations and medical tests can be done at the clinic: insemination in consultation without hospitalisation or anaesthesia, oocyte retrieval, own IVF and andrology lab. We also offer a 24-hour medical emergency service.

Psychological support

We provide psychological support in case of emotional overload, an issue which frequently affects women who undergo assisted reproduction treatments.


Marta and Paula (Barcelona)

Paula and I met five years ago and we were both very clear about wanting to be mothers. But we started to think seriously about it a year ago, when I turned 38. She is younger and we thought it would be best for her to gestate the baby, but when they told us that we could both participate through the Reciprocal IVF method, we thought it was fantastic and decided that she would donate the oocytes and I would carry the baby. We wanted the clinic to be somewhere we could trust and which also had experience. So we decided on Dexeus Mujer. But we were also treated very warmly and felt very much accompanied, which helped a great deal. I’m almost 22 weeks now and people who see us together always ask “You’re pregnant? And you’re both the biological mothers? But how is that possible?” The name of the method is not that well known but everyone understands it when you explain it to them. The only downside is that, for legal reasons, you have to be married to do it, but that wasn’t a problem for us.

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