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June 12, 2015

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C

To me embryo adoption is a process that is completely steeped in love, with no monetary transaction to entice one of the parties to participate. Both parties have a real stake besides monetary gain. The embryo donors have had their struggle and they understand completely what they are getting into. Embryo donation is a resolution to a painful situation for them. I am not sure egg donors always understand what they are getting into. I wasn't all that wise when I was 22, even if I was no longer a minor! After all, I hadn't had a child yet, how could I fully understand. For example, do egg donors understand that another family may eventually adopt the embryos created with their eggs? I don't think this is highlighted for them during the process. If it were they may want a higher payment. I think of the egg donor who helped create the embryos we have adopted. I don't believe she ever understood that a second family may have children with her embryos. Perhaps I'm wrong, but it's my feeling. I am very sorry if she never fully understood this and my heart goes out to her for this reason and for any future regret she may have, but it was her free choice to donate her eggs and we are grateful to her although we will possibly never be able to communicate with her, even as we do communicate with the wonderful couple who donated their embryos. It is the emotionally messy process of assisted reproduction, and third party assisted reproduction at that.
I don't know how many people I will tell about our embryo adoption. A lot of the time I want to tell freely if we ever are blessed with another child this way. I am so proud of it! But people don't understand so I hesitate. Those who choose egg donation - which we considered - usually do not tell, because it's not something to be as proud of, I think. We have friends who had to use a surrogate and they haven't told their children yet. They keep it a secret. I am so glad they could use a surrogate, they are a lovely family, but once I felt sorry for their surrogate who carried their twins. They mentioned how she was "needy" after the birth and wanted to see their twins more often. Their twins don't even know about the wonderful woman who helped bring them into the world! Truly I am sorry for the surrogate and I think the family should be more understanding of her and include her more, since she carried their children for nine months and birthed them. So I guess I am not happy about the state of things with fertility, that some women are still selling their bodies for money and having to live with any emotional regret that may come of it, since we are not in fact machines, but humans with feelings. I hope one day there will be better medical advances so there are other options. But I should instead focus on the positive and hope these women also had some good come out of what they did.
But back to embryo adoption. We could have tried sperm donation with IUI or egg donation with IVF. The former would mean no risk of excess embryos but lower success rate. Something about having the choice between the two (we have severe male factor but I do terribly on IVF) made us want a third way. If the child can't have his genes, the child won't have mine either, and vice versa…we are both giving up our genes, so in a way any child born is equally ours, not half his and half an egg donor's or half mine and half a sperm donor's. It's not completely rational, but it was the best solution for us. These embryos that are frozen really are little possible lives frozen in time, no matter where you are on the political spectrum or what your religious beliefs are. So while we don't get on our high horses about "saving" an embryo, we get more peace and satisfaction with our choice of giving a life already created a chance to continue. Now please, I am not judging others, but I do feel strongly about this since it was a difficult decision we made. I will always wish we could have had another child without ART or if not that, I will always wish we could have had a successful IVF, but embryo adoption is the next best for us.

Maryann

This post couldn't have come in better time! We are in the midst of starting embryo donation process. When I think about those selfless people who decided to donate their embryos to struggling couples like us my eyes are full with tears. I pray for them every day. I don't know if this will even work but at my age (41) and after 3 failed iui, 2 failed ivf; chemical pregnancy and early miscarriage I thank God for this option! There are million questions we have; but I know in my heart that the goal and dream is to be a parent. I often think how much I love and adore people in my life who are not genetically connected in anyway to me and this proofs that love starts in heart not genes.
We are also researching adoption option and we know that any of those options, if results in a child would be a blessing. It is remarkable how much strength and perseverance is required. But it comes down to the other option .. of being childless which does not exist in my vocabulary. That's something I always dreamed of. I would never thought that I would have to go through infertility hell and I don't think anything ever prepared me for this road. Now, before possible embryo donation process I pray that this will be it.

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