Embryo adoption is an exciting process! However, with any adoption journey, there are natural uncertainties and aspects that are outside of the adoptive families’ control.

Most people come into an embryo adoption process with a background of infertility. Many people describe infertility as having their control and right to make decisions taken from them. It can be a hard place to find yourself, with feelings that can be incredibly frustrating and overwhelming.

Regardless of your background, we all struggle with control. It is helpful to keep in mind what you do and do not have control over to help find peace when uncertainty arises.

What areas of the embryo adoption process do I have control over?

You have control over your actions. For example, the speed of the application, home study, and legal agreements are often dependent on how quickly you can complete responsibilities and paperwork. Are you not a type-A person? Do not worry! The embryo adoption program staff are there to help coach and encourage you to get where you need to be.

You have control over your attitude. The adoption journey can have many hills and valleys. That is why it is often referred to as an adoption journey. How you manage your emotions and attitudes can affect your whole experience. If you go into the process gritting your teeth, dragging your feet, grieving, angry, and resentful, then the process will be irritating and frustrating for you. If you go in with hope, understanding, optimism, and choose joy even when it is hard, you will come out the other side feeling triumphant and elated.

You have control over your health and environment. Make time for rest and rejuvenation. Take care of your body, as it will help prepare you for your frozen embryo transfers.

You are in control over how you interact with others. Think of the golden rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” You will begin working with many people along the adoption process, and eventually your matched embryo donor family. They have gone through their own journey to get to the place that they are now. Imagine yourself in their shoes as you are making decisions, or try to find understanding so that your relationship can flourish.

You are in control over your own decisions. The decisions you make will affect the lives all around you. That can feel like a lot of pressure. It can also be an opportunity to make decisions that can truly benefit others and what is best for your family. Do not let fear, guilt, or shame influence your decisions. They should not have control over you!

What areas do I not have control over?

You do not have control over the outcome of the frozen embryo transfer. The thought can be both exciting and scary. The transfer may not be successful, or may result in more than you ever hoped for! While as devastating or hopeless as this sounds, facing the reality head on and processing through that reality will give you peace of mind. It is the hope and expectation that you would be able to carry a child. Nevertheless, setting proper expectations or grieving the reality earlier can help with the potential of the negative outcome.

Remember: An unsuccessful transfer does not mean you will never be able to provide a home for a child or have peace and joy in life.

You do not have control over others’ decisions. You do not have control over the embryo donors. You do not have control over a fertility clinic agreeing to accept embryos on your behalf. You also may not have control over the timelines of the adoption process. It may take some time for the other involved parties to make a decision or complete a task. Patience can be helpful; there will be a finish line.

Expect the unexpected. The fact that an embryo can be frozen, thawed (often many years later), and  then result in a pregnancy is a miracle in and of itself! Embryo adoption does come with some inherent risks, and unexpected issues may arise. However, medical professionals and program staff have been working for decades to provide the safest and smoothest way to bring frozen persons to life and are there to help you!

The antidote to not having control? Trust.

Trust the process. Trust the hands that guide you through this journey. Trust the medical professionals, program staff, financial specialists, etc. Moreover, trust yourself.

And if people or situations fail, which they may, there is still always hope. You are not alone in this journey. Remember what you do have control over, as that will empower you to step forward and find peace.

To learn more about the embryo adoption process, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.