In a groundbreaking new procedure that could have a huge effect on the lives of queer women around the world, a lesbian couple have given birth to a healthy baby boy after both of them took a turn carrying him in their wombs.
According to The Telegraph newspaper, Jasmine and Donna Francis-Smith are the first in the United Kingdom to use the innovative procedure. The Essex-based couple said that being able to both directly participate in the birth of their child, Otis, has been a godsend.
“It’s definitely brought us closer together emotionally,” Donna said. “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.”
“We’re really fortunate that this was our first go at IVF,” Jasmine added.
Doctors at the London Women’s Clinic collected eggs from Donna and then incubated the eggs in her body for 18 hours. After that, the egg was put into Jasmine’s body and she became pregnant, carrying the baby to term. The couple said they feel “equal in the whole process” after sharing the pregnancy.
Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, a couple based in Dallas, reportedly underwent a similar procedure in 2018. Bliss carried the embryo for five days while it fertilized, then Ashleigh was impregnated and carried the baby to term. They named their happy, healthy baby the wonderfully Texan name Stetson Coulter.
Dr. Kathy Doody, the fertility specialist who developed the procedure used in Texas, said that not only is the process a special way for both mothers to bond with the baby, but it’s a lot cheaper than other methods of conception. Traditionally the process costs upwards of $15,000 when the embryo is incubated artificially. When the second mother is used, it only costs about $8,000.
Otis is now two months old and doing great, and so are his mothers.
“We’re just happy that it’s worked so well and the information is out there,” Donna said. “It will help people in the future — it brings you closer together rather than feeling one has a bond more than the other.”