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Parenting

Lesbian couple make history as first in the UK to carry baby in both wombs

Lily Wakefield December 4, 2019
Surrogacy is still restricted in the UK

Surrogacy is still restricted in the UK

A British lesbian couple have made history as the first in the UK to deliver a baby that was incubated in both of their wombs.

Jasmine and Donna Francis-Smith, who live in Essex, were the first to access the treatment the London Women’s Clinic, in which Donna contributed the egg and incubated the embryo in her womb first, before it was transferred to Jasmine, who gave birth.

More than 100 babies have been born via a similar process, sometimes known as reciprocal IVF, but that involves artificial incubation after the egg has been retrieved from one partner, before it is transferred to the other.

In this groundbreaking approach using both women’s wombs, Donna’s egg was retrieved, fertilised and placed back into her womb inside a capsule for the first 18 hours following fertilisation. It was then transferred to Jasmine for the rest of the pregnancy.

According to the London Women’s Clinic, incubating the embryo in the first partner’s womb “not only gives both partners a practical and emotional stake in the pregnancy, but also provides the embryo with important nutrients and other components in a natural, maternal environment.”

Donna and Jasmine’s baby, Otis, is now four months old.

Donna, who has been in the Army for 11 years, told The Telegraph: “We’re overwhelmed to be honest, it’s blown up massively.

“You get a lot of same-sex couples where one person is doing the whole thing, and the one person is getting pregnant and giving birth, whereas with this we’re both involved in a massive way.

“It’s definitely brought us closer together emotionally. We’re a close couple anyway but we both have a special bond with Otis as well which was helped by the way we’ve done it.

“It’s my egg, and then they did the egg collection from me and then put it back into my body for 18 hours before being put into Jasmine’s body, and she became pregnant.”

Asked how Otis is doing, Donna told added: “He’s really good – he’s just chilling out. He’s a really good boy.

“Jasmine said he’s going to be an astronaut, but he can be whatever he wants to be. We’ll always support him in whatever he wants to do.”

More: IVF, lesbian couple, London Women's Clinic, Parenting, wombs

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