Are you going to adopt again? (Part 2)

If you haven’t read Part 1, click here and then come back over to read Part 2. Otherwise, you might be a little lost.

As I mentioned in my last post, we have a lot of options to become parents, including:

  • Fertility treatments, including IVF
  • Surrogacy or gestational carrier
  • Donor male/female genetic material
  • Donor embryo
  • Foster care
  • International adoption
  • Domestic adoption

We’ve ruled out most of these choices either due to finances or lack of success or “yes, but not right now.”

So, we are currently pursuing embryo donation.

We’ve been considering embryo donation for our second child since before we had Emma. We even talked about it when she was tiny, and it kept being part of the conversation. It even came up during our last post placement visit with our social worker. Why? Time. Fertility treatments took us years. Adoption took us years. What’s to say it won’t take us years to determine embryo donation does or doesn’t work for us? If we wait years to start, we may never start.

So, what is embryo donation? Some refer to embryo donation as embryo adoption. Legally, you can only adopt living things and embryos are considered property. (This is not open for discussion. This is not the platform to get into whether this is right or wrong or when life begins. This is simple a fact. Any personhood/pro-life comments will be deleted, as it takes away from the point of this post.) We will likely be referring to embryo donation as embryo adoption, because we recognize that most of the people who have followed our journey will understand this phrase better. Embryo donation makes people think we are donating our embryos to another couple.

Still confused? Cool! Let’s get into it. When couples go through IVF, they can sometimes have leftover embryos. Sometimes they have the family they imagined, have medical complications, or some other reason they can’t or won’t use the embryos. And sometimes rather than destroying them or donating them to science, they decide to donate them to couples like us. Couples can do this anonymously through their clinic or through an agency similar to our adoption process. An agency would raise the price by requiring us to complete another home study, so we are trying not to go that route. We also want any children that may develop from the embryos to know their genetic parents and siblings. Clinics are almost always anonymous. So, we are left to privately find a donor family. There are several websites with listings of donors and recipients, and we’ve signed up or posted on a few. We are hoping, much like traditional infant adoption, that it’s a matter of time.

We used all of our embryos during IVF cycles, so we can’t use ours unless we go through IVF again. Right now, I do not want to go through another egg retrieval. Again, never say never, but it’s really not something I want to experience again. We have shared our desire to try to embryo adoption in conversations with friends and family and many, even those who have experienced infertility, are surprised I can carry a child. I’ve been told repeatedly by medical professionals that I should be able to maintain a pregnancy. It’s the getting pregnant thing that’s the struggle. We never had genetic testing, but I’ve felt since our second IVF that genetics may be a component.

Let’s also briefly discuss embryos as people tend to think I’m talking about eggs. Embryos are fertilized eggs, they have female and male genetic material. Neither Chris or I will be genetically related to the embryos (just like we aren’t genetically related to Emma). But, we can have them transferred as if they were, and I can have a normal pregnancy. There’s always the chance I won’t get pregnant or complications can occur. I’d like to say we are prepared for that, but it would definitely be difficult. All we have been through doesn’t really prepare your emotions.

That’s a lot to digest, no?

Summary: We want more children. We are hoping to get pregnant with a child “adopted” as an embryo (one at a time). We are hoping to find a couple who wants to donate their embryos and to have an open relationship in which the children can know their genetic family.

Since most people do not have embryos waiting in a freezer somewhere, we’ll just ask that you pray for us rather than sharing our desire. If you feel inclined to share our desire to parent more children, please do. We are always open to adopting privately too.

Adoption and infertility can seem very foreign to people. My hope is that by sharing our journey, those on a similar journey know they are not alone and that people who are not directly affected by infertility or adoption can in some way walk in our shoes.

Jess

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