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This new fertility option for lesbian couples is amazing—and it’s called ‘shared motherhood’

Within the past few decades, the rising rates of IVF, gestational carriers and surrogates have provided new ways for families to form. For lesbian couples, in particular, science now allows for a pretty amazing possibility: reciprocal IVF, a process in which one partner’s eggs are used to impregnate the other.


Also known as “shared motherhood,” this arrangement helps both women play a role in pregnancy—which one couple tells Motherly was such a special gift.

“We just really loved the idea of reciprocal IVF because we would be physically a part of the experience,” says Christina Bailey, who welcomed daughter Kennedy through reciprocal IVF with her wife, Katie.

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Initially, Katie and Christina both considered intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments using a sperm donor. But when they learned about reciprocal IVF, it immediately felt like the best option for them.

“It was important to me to have a child that was genetically mine, while this wasn't very important to Katie,” Christina explains. “Katie liked the idea of carrying a child, so it worked out perfectly.”

As for the final component, Christina says they were able to find the ideal sperm donor for their family through an online bank—which made for another interesting experience.

“We uploaded a photo of Katie's face and it gave results of donors who had similar facial characteristics,” Christina says. “We also looked for someone who had similar interests and talents. For example, the donor we chose has musical talents, similar to Katie.”

But while the decision to pursue reciprocal IVF came easily, the rest of the process isn’t without its challenges.

According to a new study published in the journal Reproductive Biomedicine Online, the reciprocal IVF process isn’t a guarantee: Of 141 IVF cycles tracked, there was a live birth rate of 60% per receiver and a twin delivery rate of 14%.

The expense certainly isn’t negligible, either, with an average cost upward of $16,000 per IVF cycle, according to WINFertility.

As the Baileys tell Motherly, there are also emotional challenges to the arrangement.

“There have been times when people ask Katie if she will have ‘her own child,’ which isn't meant as an insult, but can be taken that way,” Christina says. “The same can go for me with people asking why I don't carry or [they] consider Katie the mother because she gave birth.”

Still, the Baileys wouldn’t have it any other way. Now with another daughter on the way thanks to another round of reciprocal IVF, Christina says it was simply the perfect way for her and Katie to build their family.

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    These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

    Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

    While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

    I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

    I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

    My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

    The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

    Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

    Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

    1. Go apple picking.

    Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

    To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

    2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

    We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

    To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

    3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

    Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

    To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

    4. Have a touch-football game.

    Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

    To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

    5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

    Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

    To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

    This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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    WSEL Bags: Dad-designed diaper bags that think of everything

    WSEL stands for work smart, enjoy life—an ethos we couldn't agree with more. Founded by a stay at home dad who struggled to find a diaper bag that he not only wanted to use, but one that would last far beyond the baby years, these premium, adventure-ready backpacks are ideal for everything from errands to week-long getaways.

    Codex Beauty: Exceptionally effective sustainable skin care

    Codex Beauty's line of sustainable plant-based skin care blends the science of plant biology with biotech innovations, to create clinically proven, state-of-the-art products for all skin types. They're all vegan, EWG and Leaping Bunny verified and created in collaboration with Herbal Scientist Tracy Ryan who uses concepts dating back to the 8th century leveraging plants like sea buckthorn and calendula flower. Not only are we totally crushing on the innovative formulas that are in the packaging but we're in love with the sustainable sugarcane-derived tubes as well.

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