Embryo Adoption

I am often asked about Embryo Adoption (EA) and the addition of beautiful babes using EA to Blended families. I am no expert, so asked my friend Angela to write about her experience with EA and provide many of you with answers to your most common questions. I am honored that Angela would guest blog on Blended, but also offer such candid details about her wonderful experience with EA. Read on for her first guest installment on Blended.

Snowflakes. Embryos. Embryo Donation. Embryo Adoption (EA). Frozen Babies. Miracles Waiting.  I never would have guessed these terms would be used to describe our latest adoption miracles. My husband and I became parents through foster adoption fifteen years ago. We were amazed and thrilled with three little ones who share the same birth mom. It was a wild, crazy and amazing ride! I wouldn’t trade it for the world. When they reached school age we started searching every adoption door to find our fourth child. We thought we were on the road to Ethiopia when an email from friends changed our lives forever.

This email explained that after their long IVF journey to have their three girls (including a set of twins), that they were now burdened by what to do with their seven remaining frozen embryos. An embryo is a fertilized egg that can be transferred into the mother’s womb or frozen to use at a later time. Most couples who go through IVF don’t know if any of the woman’s eggs will be successful in fertilizing with the man’s sperm. Then they are never guaranteed that any of these embryos will make it to “blast” stage (about 3-5 days old) or if, when transferred, any will result in a successful pregnancy. Thus, the higher number of remaining embryos. There are over 500,000 frozen embryos in our country alone. Our friends knew in their hearts that these embryos were little lives and chose not to donate them to science. They also knew if they chose to do nothing and not pay their “clinic fee” to keep them frozen, that their clinic could then decide to either discard them or donate them to science. Our friends had followed us through our adoption journey and were aware that we were searching for our next child. The email went on to ask if we would prayerfully consider adopting their seven frozen embryos.

No words can express how we felt. What an honor and privilege to be considered for such a gift! The gift of little lives! We were thrilled that we got to adopt again, and from the earliest possible moment in their lives! It didn’t matter how our next child joined our family, we would’ve searched the whole world over for our next treasure!

There are different paths to Embryo Adoption. Since legally it is still considered Embryo Donation, there are a couple of options. First, there are some great agencies that treat this as they would a traditional adoption with home studies, matching families, screening for both parties, open or closed adoptions, and complete legal support. A couple of well known ones are Nightlight.org: Snowflakes Frozen Embryo Adoption and Donation Program (http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/default.aspx), the National Embryo Donation Center – NEDC (http://www.embryodonation.org) and Bethany.org (http://www.bethany.org/main/embryo-services). There are some fertility clinics around the US that have donated embryos as well that are waiting.  I personally know several women who have added little blessings because of doctors choosing not to destroy these embryos. In our situation we were already matched and the couple knew us very well, so we really only needed legal help. And we found sample legal contracts at Miracleswaiting.org (http://www.miracleswaiting.org). We discussed with our donor family what we wanted to add to the contract and after a conference call with our attorney the papers were drawn up. This also, altered the cost of our whole adoption. Including the first transfer, shipping, medical work up and legal it cost about $4,000+. Whereas, some of the agencies can start at $7,000.

Adding triplets to our family through EA gave us a great opportunity to explain to our older kids, then 9, 10 and 12, the miracle and value of life and the selfless gift of adoption. Not to mention that I got to experience pregnancy for the first time. And while we thought our foster adoption ride was wild, crazy and amazing, EA, which is all of those things, grew my family through three more little miracles.