Lesbian couple become world’s first to carry baby in both of their wombs

A British lesbian couple have told of their delight at benefitting from a revolutionary new ‘shared motherhood’ procedure, which involved carrying their new son in both of their wombs.

In what is thought to be a world first, Donna, 30, and Jasmine Francis-Smith, 28, both carried the fertilised egg during the course of the IVF pregnancy, before baby Otis was born in September.

Now the married couple have spoken out about how the remarkable procedure works.

Lance Corporal Donna Francis-Smith, from Nottinghamshire, told us : ‘We’re overwhelmed to be honest, it’s blown up massively.

‘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.

It’s definitely brought us closer together emotionally. 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.

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‘It’s my egg, and then they did the egg collection from me and then put it back into my body for 18 hours before being put into Jasmine’s body, and she became pregnant.’

Dental nurse Jasmine, from Northamptonshire, explained that she gave birth in Colchester, Essex, where the happy trio live.

She said: ‘The procedure really made me and Donna feel quite equal in the whole process and has emotionally brought us closer together.

‘Now with baby Otis born safe and well, we feel a true family. If we had to go through the process again there is nothing we would change.’

IVF experts at the London Women’s Clinic first launched the concept of ‘shared motherhood’ eight years ago, with one partner contributing the egg while the other partner carries the pregnancy.

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It says more than 100 babies have been born to lesbian couples using this approach – which involves artificial incubation prior to the transfer of the embryo into the womb.

The clinic has now gone one step further with the fertilised egg being incubated in one partner’s uterus – rather than in an artificial environment – for the first 18 hours following fertilisation, before being transferred to the second partner’s womb for the duration of the pregnancy.

The incubation capsule, known as AneVivo, allowed Donna as the egg provider to take a major role in nourishing and developing the baby before passing it on to Jasmine for implantation and pregnancy.

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Dr Giuseppina Lamanna, the Consultant Gynaecologist who supervised the couple’s treatment at the London Women’s Clinic, said: ‘The AneVivo method neatly brings together the contributions of the biological and birthing mothers in creating their baby, a source of tremendous satisfaction to many of the lesbian and heterosexual couples we see at our clinic.

‘In this case Donna was very happy with the idea that she was creating their own embryos at home.’

Dr Kamal Ahuja, Managing and Scientific Director at the clinic, added: ‘London Women’s Clinic has been in the forefront of fertility treatment since 1985 and it’s our great pleasure to report the first birth in the world with Shared Motherhood using Anecova’s ground-breaking technology for In Vivo Natural fertilization.’

The AneVivo procedure, developed by Swiss company Anecova, is on offer to heterosexual couples, same sex couples and single women.

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