An Embryo Adoption Success Story of International Proportions

This story is can be found in the current issue of Pathway2Family magazine, Winter/Spring 2018. Read the whole issue online!

In August 2006, native Brazilian, Anabelle Petersen and her husband, Tom, were anxiously awaiting the result of their first embryo transfer. Pregnancy success! The couple, who met in 1999 when Anabelle was vacationing in San Diego, California, married June 2000. Anabelle and Tom tried unsuccessfully for five years to have a baby. They decided to use in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and their embryologist created seven tiny embryos.

On transfer day, Tom recalls, “Before the nurse inserted the embryo into Anabelle’s womb, I remember seeing the tiny embryo through a microscope and realizing that it was alive!”

Nine months later, they gave birth to their first son, Andrew. When he was 14 months old, Anabelle was surprised to discover she was pregnant with baby number two! Their second son, Lucas, was born in February 2009. Their daughter Louisa joined the family in February 2011. But Anabelle and Tom still had six embryos in frozen storage, and they had to decide what to do with them.

At the same time, 2,000 miles away in Canada, Bert Pohl, born in South Africa and raised in Australia, and his wife Kryna, a United States citizen, were trying to start a family of their own. They were working at a small Presbyterian church in Ontario where Bert served as the pastor.

Even though they were not having success getting pregnant, they trusted that children would someday be part of their future.

Back in the U.S., after having three children in four years, the Petersens knew their family was complete. However, Andrew, Lucas, and Louisa still had six potential genetic siblings, frozen in time as embryos. Anabelle and Tom knew they had to make a decision about these embryos. Their options were limited. They could continue to store them, but the cost was no longer easy to budget. They could thaw the embryos and discard them. They could donate the embryos to science, but this too would destroy the embryos. The only choice they felt was right for them was to donate the embryos for reproduction. They wanted to give their embryos a chance at life. They wanted to have a say in who received their embryos. Their clinic would not allow this, but when Tom was searching for solutions on the internet, he discovered the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption agency. He then discovered that the Snowflakes staff would help them find then choose a family to adopt the embryos.

Bert and Kryna, still childless, had learned about Snowflakes and decided to pursue embryo adoption as the means to build their family. The Pohls completed the application process and family profile and waited to be matched with a donor family…

To read the conclusion of this story, visit Pathway2Family.org

Do you have an embryo adoption story? Send your story and photos to us. Post them yourself via Facebook and Twitter or email us your story and we will make it available on our Family Stories page, found on our website.

Email Paige@nightlight.org and help another family build their embryo donation or adoption story. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit embryoadoption.org.