There are many adults and children living in the U.S. and the world who are a secret. No, they aren’t spies, nor are they hidden away. What is secret being how they came to exist.

Donor conception has been around since the 1880s, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. It has allowed couples and individuals to build their own families when the old-fashioned methods for reproduction have left them with empty cradles. Unfortunately, secrecy rather than privacy has been the rule. “Don’t tell the child how they were conceived. Don’t tell anyone  No one will ever know.”

Or will they?

This has left millions of children and adults without knowledge of their genetic origins. The physical and psychological impacts of this secret are personal, often devastating when they are discovered by accident.

But now, in the 21st century, it is impossible to stay anonymous. Through internet resources and the fad of at-home DNA kits, individuals are unfortunately finding out everything they thought they knew was their truth, is not. Like Sam, who got her family DNA tests for the holidays, and had no idea it would completely change her life.

So if it’s impossible to stay anonymous and keep the secret, why even attempt it?

Through embryo adoption, there is no secrecy. There are no questions. But there is a plethora of knowledge and information available to you, your family, and your child about how they joined the family.

The idea of embryo adoption came to Marlene Strege in the late 90s. Her and her husband, John, did not want to use anonymous “donor embryos” to build their family but wished to adopt them, just as you would an already born child. This personified the process of donor conception, giving the future children born from the embryos a knowledge about who they are where they came from.

Their idea morphed into what is today the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, the first-ever embryo adoption program. The program chose this name because every frozen embryo is unique—just like a snowflake! Today, Snowflakes is proud of the fact they have no anonymous or closed embryo placements. They develop honest, fear-free relationships between their placing and adopting families, with the knowledge that it’s in the best interest of the adoptive child.

To learn more about the Strege family, and their journey to their daughter Hannah, you can read John’s new book A Snowflake Named Hannah. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit