The easy answer seems to be adoption. There are so many children out there that need loving homes. After months of research I learned that adoption is a very long, very expensive and very stressful process and we were warned several times that there are many adoption agencies out there that simply want to take your money with no intention of every finding a child for you. I had my heart broken a couple of times through my research—once when I learned that we weren’t holy enough to qualify for a program through a church, and the other when I learned how much it would cost without that program. We wanted a child—any child, but adoption just wasn’t going to work for us.
In May 2005, President Bush appeared with babies that had been born as a result of embryos that had been frozen and reiterated his position in favor of embryo adoption instead of the kind of stem cell research that destroys human embryos. Embryo adoption--maybe this is the answer we've been looking for. This is were my research began. I learned that there are more than 400,000 embryos currently cryopreserved (frozen) that are left over from couples' in-vitro (IVF) treatments. These are embryos, not just frozen sperm or eggs, embryos—fertilized eggs—cells that have already begun dividing—LIFE. It turns out that most IVF clinics don’t require couples to think about the possibility that they may complete their family and still have embryos left over. Their options are to leave them frozen indefinitely (effects of long-term cryo-storage are unknown), thaw them and let them die, donate them to science (let them die) or donate them to another couple. I can totally understand that it is a very difficult decision for the couples to make. No one wants to let their children die, yet it is difficult to let someone else have them. But, the only life honoring option is to let another couple adopt them, a couple like us who would have a very high chance of conceiving another child with a congenital genetic disorder and yet can’t afford a traditional adoption. For me the best part about embryo adoption is that I would get to experience another pregnancy. My last pregnancy and birth was fantastic and I was overjoyed that I could experience all that again with my adopted child.
First I looked at Snowflakes (a Nightlight Christian Adoption program), but they again required a spirituality that we didn’t possess and they are very expensive ($8000 program fee, plus clinic and home study fees), very disappointing. I also found out that some fertility clinics do have donor programs, but unfortunately I live in an area where there aren’t any. Then I found the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC). Their program fee was only $1000 (plus clinic and home study fees) and even though they are affiliated with Bethany Christian Services they don’t discriminate based on religion. I submitted the application in November 2006 and after much paperwork, a home study and many exams later, we were matched with a donor couple and had three perfect embryos transferred to my uterus in July 2007. I am now 5 months away from giving birth to a *hopefully* healthy baby. We even plan to try again for a sibling with more embryos from the same batch (the donors had 12 embryos available), and what we don’t use will go to another couple.
The NEDC treats embryo adoption/donation much like a traditional adoption in that they require a home study to ensure that the embryos are going to a good home and they will do closed (anonymous), open or semi-open agreements between the donors and recipients. Right now, the laws treat embryo adoption/donation as “tissue transfer” (much like organ donation) rather than an actual adoption.
I just wanted everyone to know that there are options; options for those with left over embryos and options for those desperately wanting a child.
An update: Genevieve was born 3/9/08, 3 weeks and 2 days early. She weighed 6 lbs 12 oz. She spent 16 days in the NICU due to her underdeveloped lungs; she had to be intubated and had 2 chest tubes because both of her lungs partially collapsed.
She was discharged from the hospital a healthy baby and is now a VERY active eleven-month-old. Genevieve is the best thing in our lives. I can't imagine my world without her.END AKISMET -->
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