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Lesbian Moms Both Get to Carry Baby

Lesbian Moms Both Get to Carry Baby

Coulter family
From left: Bliss and Ashleigh Coulter with son Stetson

The two Dallas women's accomplishment appears to be a first.

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In what appears to be a first, two women in Dallas are celebrating what's been dubbed a "miracle baby" that each of them carried for a time.

Spouses Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, age 28 and 36 respectively, have become mothers to a boy named Stetson, who is now 5 months old. The women were the first to try a procedure called reciprocal effortless in vitro fertilization, their fertility doctors, Kathy and Kevin Doody, told USA Today.

"We were just talking one night at home and I said, 'You know, I think we could use this for a same-sex couple,'" Kathy Doody told the paper. "And Kevin said, 'I think you're right. I think we could.'"

The Coulters, who married in June 2015, knew they wanted a child but differed on some specifics. "I was very much interested in having children, but Bliss was a little iffy on it," Ashleigh Coulter told ABC News. Bliss said, "I wanted a child that was biologically mine, but I did not want to carry the child."

The Doodys, however, worked out a system in which each woman would carry the child for a period of time. Bliss's eggs, instead of being fertilized in a laboratory, as is common practice for in vitro fertilization, were fertilized in her body through the implantation of a device called an INVOCell, USA Today reports.

The device stayed in her body for five days to begin development of embryos. Because embryos don't have livers, kidneys, or lungs, during IVF doctors use incubators to take on the role of those organs in removing toxins and supporting development.

"It turns out, not surprisingly, that the woman's own body is a very good incubator," Kathy Doody told USA Today. "We have livers, kidneys, and lungs, so we're able to provide those same services to the embryo more naturally."

The embryos were frozen after they were removed from Bliss's uterus and were then implanted in Ashleigh's at the appropriate time. A pregnancy resulted immediately, and she carried the baby to term and gave birth.

"She got to carry him for five days and was a big part of the fertilization, and then I carried him for nine months," Ashleigh told USA Today. "So that made it really special for the both of us - that we were both involved. She got to be a part of it, and I got to be a part of it."

"No one really knew it was possible, but it worked magnificently," Bliss added.

This type of IVF cost about half of what it would using an incubator -- $8,000 versus $14,000 to $16,000, according to USA Today. Since the Coulters used the process, a second female couple has gone through it.

"I think it opens up new avenues, new choices for same-sex couples," Doody told the paper.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.