Couples in which both people possess female reproductive organs can undertake the ROPA method of fertility treatment. This provides a way for same-sex couples to share motherhood to conceive a child.
What is the ROPA Method?
The ROPA method is offered to couples where both are female and wish to share an equal part in the pregnancy, whereby one person is the genetic mother who provides the eggs. One is the biological mother who carries the pregnancy.
What Are The Risks of ROPA?
ROPA, much like all other surgical and fertility treatments, comes with some risks which should be discussed and considered before the procedure:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: as a result of fertility drugs
- Retrieval procedure complications, the use of the aspirating needle to retrieve eggs may cause bleeding, infection, or damage to the bowel
- Emotional risks, there is no guarantee of success
What to Expect From the Procedure:
The ROPA method is a variation of IVF with a similar process. The person who has nominated her eggs to be used:
- Initially, will be tested for any infectious diseases as a routine precaution
- A few weeks before the procedure, patients will need to take hormones to boost egg production and maturity. When they are ready, they will be collected
- Commonly this is conducted by ultrasound aspiration. This entails an ultrasound probe inserted into the vagina to identify the follicles. A needle is then inserted into the follicle, where a suction device connected to the needle is used to remove the egg from the follicle
Sperm from a donor will then be mixed with the eggs in an incubator at an optimum temperature to be fertilised; these should develop into embryos within the following days.
The person who is carrying the pregnancy:
- Will receive hormone treatment to prepare the uterus, which will thicken the lining for embryo implantation
- A thin tube called a catheter is passed into the vagina through which the eggs can be transferred into the womb
- After 2 weeks, a test will determine whether the procedure was successful
How much does ROPA cost?
- Privately in the UK, prices for ROPA begin at around £4,800.
- However, this method is not widely found in the UK and is not offered on the NHS.