A lesbian couple from Texas gave birth to a baby boy, Stetson, last June. The baby was carried alternately by both women.
Following ovarian stimulation, eggs were harvested from 37-year-old Bliss. They were then fertilised by donor sperm in a laboratory. The fertilised embryos were placed in the INVOcell device and deposited in Bliss’s womb for five days. At the end of this five-day period, “we removed the device and froze the embryos”, explains Doctor Kathy Doody, a fertility specialist at the C.A.R.E Fertility Clinic in Texas where both women were treated.
One of the “incubated” embryos was then placed in 29-year-old Ashley’s uterus and carried to term. Both women waited ten days to find out whether the procedure had worked.
The process called “reciprocal IVF costs approximately $8,000 (around €7,000), i.e. less than conventional IVF.
Wales – abortions challenged following NIPT
In Wales, a booklet for pregnant women undergoing non-invasive prenatal testing for Down syndrome has been withdrawn. It focused on potential medical problems in the child.
NIPT is a screening procedure for Down syndrome that has been available in Wales since April. However, the booklet accompanying the test “pushed women towards an abortion” according to campaigners who also predict that NIPT could lead to more abortions following the diagnosis of Down syndrome. Health Secretary Vaughan Gething also admitted that it should be removed and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics decided to withdraw it. Since then, a replacement booklet focuses more on the social aspects of the condition. It states that “children with Down syndrome lead happy, healthy lives. Many of them work and live in their own home”.
Leah who is Welsh and a mother of two, has a sister with Down syndrome. When she consulted a midwife about a scan and asked for a test in case her baby had Down syndrome, she was told: “the purpose of the test is abortion”. “It was horrible,” she recounts, “my husband and I left the consultation shell-shocked […]. We couldn’t believe what we had just heard”.
France Jenkins, whose daughter, Darcie, has Down syndrome, has set up a support group for families in Wales because she believes that what is on offer is unfair “and biased in favour of abortion”. “As far as I know”, she explains, “no parent is given the opportunity to meet families happily bringing up a child with Down syndrome. Only women who choose to have an abortion are supported”.