Same-Sex Couple First To Carry Baby in Both Wombs Through ‘Shared Motherhood’ Procedure

Donna and Jasmine Francis-Smith
Cision PR Newswire

Two new moms from England have become the first same-sex couple to carry their baby in each of their wombs during the pregnancy. Donna and Jasmine Francis-Smith were able to welcome their first son, Otis, through a "shared motherhood" procedure thanks to a groundbreaking new in vitro fertilization technology called AneVivo at London Women's Clinic.

  • Baby Otis was born two months ago, after his mothers enlisted in the "shared motherhood" program.

    The baby boy was conceived via in vivo natural fertilization, otherwise known as the "shared motherhood" treatment, and involves eggs being incubated in one mother and transferred to the other's womb. Instead of the egg going through incubation and fertilization externally, which is the case in in vitro fertilization, the egg is placed in a capsule and put back in the biological mother's womb during this part of the process. 

    This procedure allows one partner to provide the eggs, while the other can carry the embryo to term, according to a press release published by the Cision Newswire. In the case of Donna and Jasmine, Business Insider reported that the capsule with the fertilized egg from Donna, the biological mother, was removed from her womb after 18 hours of incubation, and the embryo was placed into Jasmine, making her the gestational mother.

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  • The couple welcomed their son on September 30 in Colchester, Essex, and said they were "overwhelmed" by the results.

    Speaking with The Evening Standard, Donna explained that they were honored to be the first.

    “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," she 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."

    Jasmine also shared with the BBC that the procedure made her and her wife "feel equal in the whole process."

  • Another one of the procedure's possible benefits is that fertilization takes place in a maternal environment, instead of a lab like with most IVF cases.

    The press release explained that IVF treatments performed in a lab can be associated with other risks. The company also boasts that AneVivo allows both partner to be involved "in the nourishing and developing of the embryo during its very early stages of development."

    Donna told Yahoo! News that Otis has been doing well since they brought him home 

    "He’s really good -- he’s just chilling out. He’s a really good boy," she said. “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.

    “We’re just happy that it’s worked so well and the information is out there. It will help people in the future -- it brings you closer together rather than feeling one has a bond more than the other.”

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