We were given less than 1% chance of conceiving on our own.
My husband, Steven, and I had been trying for a baby for five years. After years of nothing happening, we consulted a fertility specialist. This is a place we never thought we would go, and yet here we were. Due to our low chances, we decided to pursue IUI, and eventually, IVF. However, as these methods failed, it quickly became clear that we were being led in a different direction.
Our church has an Orphan Care ministry. One night, on a whim, we decided to attend a meeting about adoption and foster care. This is where we learned about the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. We waited another six months or so and processed the loss of having our own child the “natural” way before pursuing embryo adoption. The process from application to home study took us six months, and then we anxiously awaited a match.
Thankfully, we were matched about a month later!
It was a family in California who had created these embryos 18 years’ prior using an egg donor. They had two successful babies from the process who were now teenagers. There were seven embryos left that had remained frozen since 1997, and we would be responsible for all of them.
My husband and I were on vacation in Alaska when we received the match. As we hiked along the beautiful trails of Denali National Park, we prayed about it. Then, we turned to each other and asked what the other thought. We both came to the conclusion that there was no reason to not adopt these embryos! Biology really did not matter to us. We wanted to share our hearts and our love with a child.
After completing the necessary legal process, we were the proud parents of seven little embryos. We checked with every fertility clinic in Colorado (where we live) to see if they would accept the shipped embryos and help us with transfers—they all said no. So instead, we traveled from Colorado to California for the transfers. This actually ended up being a really sweet time where we were able to relax on the beach and enjoy time as a couple during each transfer time.
God’s hand was in the process—I happened to be between jobs when we went for our first embryo transfer. The doctor who performed the transfer was the same doctor who had frozen these embryos 18 years prior. Because the group of embryos that we adopted was older, they had been slow frozen at day 2-3. The doctor recommended that we thaw all of them, grow them to day 5 blastocysts, and then cryopreserve them to today’s standards. From the group of 7 embryos, only two survived the thaw and growth. Our first single embryo transfer went smoothly, and then we anxiously waited. When we got that positive test result, we were thrilled!
Nine months later, we welcomed our precious and long-awaited son, Tyler, in August 2017. He was perfect and felt just as much like ours as if we had conceived him ourselves.
We still had one embryo frozen at this point, and we very much desired for Tyler to have a sibling. We felt like we had already won the jackpot by getting Tyler as our son, so we knew that it was really in God’s hands if we would have another.
About a year after Tyler was born, we started planning our next embryo transfer. And then the unexpected happened…. we were pregnant on our own, without any assistance! The pregnancy went smoothly, and we were blessed with our precious and long-promised daughter, Hannah, in July 2019.
As the days and months passed, we still had this one embryo waiting. Steven and both knew that this little embryo deserved a chance at life just as much as any other. We prayed for this baby every day, along with our two beautiful children that we had already been blessed with. We scheduled the next embryo transfer, about a year after Hannah’s birth. Thankfully, this transfer went smoothly, and we were blessed with another baby! Our son, Jayden, joined our family in June 2021. He is a full genetic sibling to Tyler, and he is perfect in every way.
It is hard to believe he was frozen for nearly 24 years!
We are blessed to have a beautiful “extended family” with Tyler and Jayden’s donor family. Tyler and Jayden have 23-year-old siblings, Brianna and John. We have had the opportunity to get together in person with Brianna a few times, and we cherish this special relationship that our families share. It is such a special story, and we are so grateful that this family chose to keep these embryos around and allow us to be their parents. It is also nice that Tyler and Jayden have access to their genetic family, including personal relationships and health history.
God truly did make rivers in the desert and a way in the wilderness for our family. There were days that I wasn’t sure we would share our lives with one child, and here we are with three little children under the age of four! God knows how to paint a beautiful picture, and I know that our family’s picture is still being painted.
If you want to learn more about our family, we have a blog: snowflakesfromheaven.wordpress.com
Do you have an embryo adoption or donation 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 about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.