When Genavieve Jaffe, 35, and her wife, Jordana Jaffe, 38, decided to adopt a child, their process looked a bit different than most. The child they adopted was created with Jordana’s egg, an anonymous donor’s sperm, and Genavieve’s uterus.
The couple underwent a process called reciprocal IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) to start their family. Genavieve described reciprocal IVF as “the exact same thing as traditional surrogacy: taking an egg from someone, taking sperm from another person, fertilizing the egg, turning it into an embryo, and then putting that embryo into someone else.” But rather than finding a gestational carrier, Genavieve volunteered for the job. She carried the embryo that was created using her wife’s egg.
Reciprocal IVF is not a new idea. In fact, Genavieve noted that she learned about it from Instagram. When the couple first started the fertility process, they started following lesbian Instagram accounts, and one of the couples was going through reciprocal IVF. “Social media can be a toxic place. But I think that it can really provide—especially for the LGBT+ community—a lot of acceptance, a lot of safety,” Jaffe said.