INVO Bioscience today announced that a child had been born to a same-sex couple in which both partners were able to carry the baby in separate phases of the pregnancy.
The couple, Bliss and Ashleigh Coulter of Mountain Springs, Texas, welcomed their son, Stetson, in late October. The women and their doctors used INVO Bioscience’s intravaginal culture system, INVOcell, a medical device that enables egg fertilization and early embryo development to take place in a woman’s body.
Instead of placing the donated sperm and Bliss Coulter’s eggs into laboratory incubators — a traditional in vitro fertilization — the sperm and eggs were placed into the chamber of the INVOcell immediately after the eggs were retrieved. The device was then placed into Bliss Coulter’s body for five days, where early embryo development began. Ashleigh Coulter underwent treatment with estrogen and progesterone, after which the developing embryo was placed into Ashleigh’s body for the remainder of the pregnancy.
INVO Bioscience touts its system as a lower-cost option to traditional IVF and one that expands access to patients who cannot afford the traditional method or would prefer for a more natural, cultural, or religiously appropriate choice. The Coulters’ pregnancy and birth were the first by a same-sex couple using INVOcell.
With the INVO Bioscience procedure, the temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2), and physiological pH stay stable throughout the incubation period, according to the Medford, Mass. company. INVOcell uses the body as a natural incubator, making it possible for the device to maintain proper pH of the culture medium using the human body temperature, and CO2 and O2 concentration throughout the incubation period.
“We are thrilled that our INVOcell technology was instrumental in achieving a safe and successful pregnancy,” said INVO Bioscience CEO Katie Karloff in a prepared statement. “Enabling both partners to physically participate in the pregnancy is a wonderful benefit of INVOcell. We applaud Drs. Kathy and Kevin Doody of Effortless IVF and The Center for Assisted Reproduction of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas for their compassion and creativity to help this loving couple achieve the family they so passionately desired. Kathy and Kevin have been great advocates for the efficacy of INVOcell and we greatly appreciate their confidence in our technology.”
The Coulters’ story has been featured in numerous national and international media outlets.
“INVO Bioscience is dedicated to increasing access to care and expanding affordable fertility treatment and patient care across the globe,” said Lori Kahler, VP of global operations for INVO Bioscience. “For many couples struggling with infertility, access to treatment is often not possible. Financial challenges, limited availability of specialized medical care, religious, social or cultural roadblocks can prevent hopeful parents from realizing their dream to have a baby. Our mission is to help realize these dreams.”