A LESBIAN couple from Colchester are the first in Britain to experience a double womb pregnancy.

Donna and Jasmine Francis-Smith experienced a new shared motherhood procedure with the fertilised egg incubated in both women’s wombs during the course of their pregnancy.

IVF experts at the London Women’s Clinic first launched the concept of shared motherhood in 2011 with one partner contributing the egg while the other partner carries the pregnancy.

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.

The clinic reported the couple’s baby, Otis, was born using this pioneering procedure in September.

Braintree and Witham Times:

Photo by Voxia Communications

Jasmine, 28, whose wife Donna, 30, is a Lance Corporal in the Army, 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.”

This procedure not only gives both partners a practical and emotional stake in the pregnancy, but also provides the embryo with important nutrients and other components in a natural, maternal environment.

The incubation capsule, known as AneVivo, allowed the egg provider and capsule carrier to take a major role in the whole process before transfer of an embryo to the other partner for implantation and pregnancy.

Dr Giuseppina Lamanna, the consultant gynaecologist who supervised the couple’s treatment, paid tribute to Anecova, the Swiss company behind this remarkable development.

“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,” said Dr Lamanna.

The AneVivo procedure is available to all same-sex and heterosexual couples and to single women having IVF at the London Women’s Clinic.