When you start the process of in vitro fertilization, your focus is on one thing: becoming pregnant. Even though your clinic explains to you that you may have left-over embryos, left-overs are not at the forefront of your brain. What fertility clinics have discovered is your attitude toward remaining embryos is highly likely to change after you have given birth to your children.
The process of IVF is grueling: pills, blood draws, shots, IVs, transfers, more shots, and the endless cycle of “hurry up and wait.” Your clinic will give you the rundown of what your options are for remaining embryos. You will likely even sign one form in the stack of documents declaring your desires for your remaining embryos.
These options include:
1. Thaw and discard
2. Donate to science
3. Keep frozen
4. Donate for reproduction
“We will just discard them or donate them to science. After all, they are only embryos.”
But then your new baby is born, and she has your nose. And he has your partner’s eyes. And your sister’s hair color. Would your little frozen embryos look the same as your new baby? Or would they have different physical traits? Not only physical traits, but would they share similar personality traits as you and your partner? Suddenly, those little frozen embryos don’t seem like “just frozen embryos” anymore.
Perhaps you will not be able to use all of the embryos you have created using IVF. But now the thought of discarding them or donating them to science doesn’t seem like the right choice anymore. One mother of twin girls conceived via IVF had a perception change, “When I think about discarding the embryos, I can only think, ‘What if we had picked a different embryo to transfer and my daughters were still frozen at five days past conception?’ I can’t fathom discarding embryos that have the potential to be as precious as my two girls.”
Is there another option? Yes! Embryo donation and adoption. Families who have completed their family and remaining embryos may choose a family who will attempt to give birth to those embryos. You created the embryos in the first place to hopefully become a living, breathing baby. Why shouldn’t you continue to choose life for your embryos?
Embryo adoption through an adoption agency does empower you to have a choice in the family who received your gift of embryos. Your fertility clinic may have a donation program. You may even know of someone personally who would love to achieve a pregnancy using donated embryos.
The Embryo Adoption Awareness Center is here to help you learn about the choices available to you though personal stories, webinars, and FAQs. For more information on embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.