Most parents think their kids are special, but for Ashleigh and Bliss Coulter, their 5-month-old son, Stetson, is truly a “miracle baby.” The couple made history earlier this year when they became the first same-sex couple to carry the same baby, thanks to a new type of in vitro fertilization (IVF).
It all began shortly after the Texas couple got married in June 2015 and decided they wanted to start a family—but there was one problem. Who would carry the baby?
“Bliss wanted to have her own biological child but she didn’t want to carry,” Ashleigh explained in a recent interview. “I always wanted to have a baby and wanted to be pregnant and carry.”
The solution? Effortless IVF, a method developed at the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Texas, that’s similar to the more traditional IVF that most people are familiar with—except the embryo is incubated in one of the mother’s bodies, instead of in a lab.
In the case of the Coulters, the process began with Bliss, who provided the eggs and carried the embryo for the first five days. At that point, it was transferred to Ashleigh, who carried their baby for the rest of the nine months. In the words of the duo’s doctor, Kathy Doody, it was “almost like passing the baton, like it’s a relay race.”
And waiting at the finish line was a healthy baby boy, along with a breakthrough that could revolutionize how same-sex couples make families in the future. In fact, while the Coulters may have been the first, they’re already not the last—another Texas same-sex couple used effortless IVF to give birth to their own daughter in September.
What’s next for Ashleigh and Bliss? The pair froze two embryos, but for now, they’re still relishing new parenthood and the process that made it possible: “It was so special to use because we ended up both getting to carry and we wouldn’t change it for the world.”