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A lesbian couple from Sweden wants a child together. And both women should become the biological mothers. Can your plan work despite medical and bureaucratic hurdles?
Saga and Felicia Wahlström met while working in a hospital. "We were actually together straight away," write the two of them on their shared Instagram account "eggsharing". That was in April 2020. Soon after, they also wanted a baby. Her particular concern: You both want to take on the biological motherhood of your child.
The plan sounds like science fiction, but can theoretically be implemented: Saga would like to have a fertilized egg of her partner inserted. Felicia supplies the DNA, Saga carries the child - both are therefore the biological mothers.
How did their loved ones react to this plan? "Our parents want grandchildren and our friends think it's funny that we will have children this way," said Saga Wahlström in an interview with "Expressen". There would also have been negative comments on social media, alluding to an alleged "genetic change" in your child. But the couple has stopped reading what strangers write to them. They prefer to focus on the upcoming parenthood.
"Double donation" legal in Sweden
In early 2019, the assisted reproduction law in Sweden was changed. Since then, the so-called double donation has been possible, in which donated egg cells are fertilized with donated sperm. This method is intended for couples who want to get pregnant but do not have functioning sperm and eggs.
The electoral stream's plan is still unusual. Because the procedure is associated with high health risks. These are mainly related to whether the recipient's body accepts the donated cell. Because, contrary to what was assumed years ago, the uterus is not a space that is shielded from the body's own defenses. If the DNA is completely foreign, the maternal immune system can be overwhelmed. The Swedish Ministry of Health therefore advises against egg donation without a medical reason (e.g. infertility). Many clinics therefore refuse such treatment.
In October 2020, Saga and Felicia found a private institution that can fulfill their desire to have children. But all of this is associated with many bureaucratic hurdles as well as physical and psychological examinations. The couple would pay for everything out of their own pocket, it says on Instagram. Same-sex couples can have artificial insemination financed by the Swedish state. But this does not apply to a double donation that is made without a medical reason.
The end of the dream?
Until mid-February everything seemed to be going according to plan: Felicia had successfully removed 13 eggs, Saga was preparing her body for the insertion and the couple got married too. But as your current Instagram post reveals, you have to put your plans on hold for the time being: "Unfortunately we have sad news. We have been notified that ALL double donations will be paused." The Swedish Ministry of Health would have changed the legal framework so that even private ones Clinic is not allowed to carry out the process. The women now hope that they will get another chance in the fall.
And until then? "We still want children! That's why we opted for regular, artificial insemination," they write on Instagram. This means that it is not Saga who gets the fertilized egg, but Felicia herself. They want to have the first planted in April. "We'll just do that with the double donation later, with the next child."
Egg donation in Austria
What is the legal situation in this country? In 2015, the law on reproductive medicine was reformed. Since then, sperm and egg donation have been allowed in Austria. The donation can also be made by friends or acquaintances; it is also not necessary that a couple is in a partner or married. In order for the legal framework to be correct, all you need is a declaration of consent in the form of a notarial act.
In theory, a double donation would also be possible in Austria. But the legislature only allows egg donation if the recipient is not fertile and she is under 45 years of age. Another hurdle is the age of the donor. According to the law, she cannot be under 18 or over 30 years old.