If you were to ask my son (who is now 7) how he was made, he would say, “The doctors took an egg out of mama, used the help of a donor, then I was put into mommy’s belly, then I came out.” He’s right!
If only it was that simple!
When we decided to start a family, I knew it wouldn’t be the easiest quest, but I had no idea of how hard and complicated it would be either.
We had to answer questions like, “Do you have a sperm donor?” “How would you like to pay for the fertility treatments?” And then the one question that completely paralyzed me, “What would you like to do with any of the unused embryos?”
“Wait, what do you mean… ‘unused embryos?’”
The doctor explained that with in vitro fertilization (IVF), the goal is to create as many embryos as possible for a chance of pregnancy. When the couple has completed their family and does not want to use the other embryos, they can choose one of the three options:
- Donate to science
- Donate for reproduction
We went through a long and emotional journey before we got pregnant with our incredible son. Unfortunately, IVF did not work the first time or the second time. But on our third cycle, and with a 25% chance of success, we became pregnant.
Throughout our journey of trying to get pregnant and into early parenthood, that one question kept me up at night… “What would you like to do with your unused embryos?”
It was an extremely difficult decision for us, but we knew we had to give our embryos a chance at life.
It wasn’t until our son turned five, that we knew for sure that he was going to be our only child. At that time there were four perfectly healthy embryos. If donated to another family and with a successful pregnancy, they could become my son’s full siblings, while carrying 50% of my DNA.
As we got closer to the donation process, more and more questions came to mind…
“What if our embryos don’t get adopted?”
“What if they do? What would it be like knowing there was a baby out in the world that shared mine and my son’s DNA?”
“What if the baby was a boy and resembled my son who I love and cherish?”
“Or what if it was a girl? Would she look like me?”
Some of these questions were just out of curiosity and some were so deep I could not wrap my head around them. But I did know one thing for sure…my job was to get these embryos placed with a loving family and the rest would be in God’s hands.
We began working with the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program who was extremely helpful and answered all of our questions throughout every step of the process. The staff was informative, supportive, and responsive to us at all times. Embryo adoption is new territory for our society. It can be scary and unsettling. However, on October 15th, when we received the email that read, “I get the honor and privilege of letting you know that Bailey is here – and she is beautiful!” I knew that it was the best gift we had ever given.
Bailey is now three years old, and we have had the opportunity to visit with her and her family twice in person. We exchange emails and texts on a monthly basis, and we couldn’t feel more blessed. Not only did our family of three gain an extended family, but the world gained a beautiful soul in Bailey from one very loved embryo.
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.