If we want a child with our partner, but neither of us have any from previous relationships, we must turn to adoption or artificial insemination. But what if we both want to be the child’s biological mothers? This isn’t impossible either!
In our previous articles we listed the options for lesbian couples to have children, how the process of artificial insemination works, and interviewed some women who already went through the process themselves. First, let’s briefly summarize the options we have, then we shall discuss the ‘newest’ type of artificial insemination, which is unsurprisingly the favourite of lesbian couples.
According to the 2021 amendment of the law, the chance of adoption for same sex couples and singles is severly limited, these appeals are assessed by the Minister of Family Affairs. Adoption abroad is not an option either, since these cases are also sanctioned by the Hungarian authorities, in accordance with Hungarian legislation.
Artificial insemination at home
Many of us have a ‘guy best friend’ with whom we brought up this topic: ‘if I ever wanted a child, would you donate some sperm?’. And really: for healthy, fertile women this is the cheapest way to get pregnant. But besides counting as a felony according to Hungarian law, this DIY solution carries other risks too. This guy best friend we trust so much can request his paternity rights to be acknowledged any time (!). I don’t think it’s hard to guess in whose favor the authorities would rule in this case.
Artificial insemination at a fertility clinic
According to current legislation artificial insemination is accessible for married couples, non-same-sex cohabitating partners, infertile women or those who will soon become infertile due to age. Moreover, from the summer of 2022 only state-run fertility clinics will be authorized to perform infertility treatments. Which means that if we’re single we can still partake in this treatment if relevant health-concerns or age make it necessary.
Artificial insemination abroad
‘This must cost a lot’ – and for sure, we will have to dig deep into our pockets. Besides the fact that raising children already costs a lot of money in and of itself, in this case you also have to pay for the conception. But if you intend to go through the insemination process as a lesbian couple and are also concerned about legal security, the extra expenses are worth it. You don’t even have to go very far: Wiener Neustadt-based TinyFeet clinic, 260 km from Budapest, is awaiting lesbian couples with open arms. Dr. Rudolf Rathmanner, leading clinician of the facility came to us with some wonderful news: the legal disputes surrounding the ROPA method have been cleared up by the Austrian legislature, which means they are now free to offer this type of artificial insemination for lesbian couples. This method has been in use for years, but so far it was only allowed in cases where health issues made it necessary, but from October 2021 anyone is free to choose this method. ‘We are very happy that the method’s legal background has been cleared up. This way we can help even more lesbian couples start families and have children together’ Dr. Rathmanner shared the news with us.
But what is the ROPA method?
The grist of the method is that – after some medical preparation – oocytes (eggs) are taken from one partner, fertilized by the donor’s sperm, and the embryos are implanted into the other partner’s uterus. This makes one of them the genetic mother and the other the birth mother. ‘ROPA is a special form of in-vitro fertilization, specifically for lesbian couples’ Dr. Rathmanner adds.
According to Dr. Rathmanner, while the fertilisation of an egg from the egg bank comes with age limits (the egg donor must be 30 or younger, the birthing mother 45) this is not an issue with the ROPA method, where only biological limitations might cause a problem for either of the mothers. This means ROPA is a good opportunity for couples where one of the partners is having issues with conception but is able to take the other’s fertilized egg and carry the child to term.
Costs are made up of three major parts, all of which can vary depending on the level of medical, hormonal treatment we need. Let’s see what we can expect if we choose the ROPA method:
- The expenses of the genetic mother: 2020 € + 365-1335 € for the medical package
- The expenses of the birth mother: 1380 €
- Sperm bank expenses: 920 €
So we can calculate with a starting price of 4685 – 5655 €. If more than one tries are needed, the price can get higher, but in this case not everything needs to be paid for again. The already fertilized but not yet implanted embryos can be used for a new attempt at conception, so the expenses of the first point need not be paid again. You can get more information about the exact prices here, or you can contact the clinic here. Feel free to write to them in Hungarian!