I am a mother to amazing miracle twins via Embryo DONATION.
I do not think it is SAD that embryos are not treated like babies. They are not babies. Embryo Donation IS NOT adoption.
Many many many of the EA Agencies out there are also part of the personhood political movement and support pro-life lobbies with the money you give them for your “adoption”. Further, they are trying to set a precedence of personhood by having families go through home studies and pseudo-legal proceedings with embryos so that they can argue that embryos should be treated the same as living babies in the adoption process.
Do you realize what that would mean for infertility treatment in this country? It would mean doctors unwilling to store embryos or changing protocols for fear of being sued because embryos in their labs are now considered babies. In short, it would bring crashing down the whole set of resources us women have to help us in our struggle with infertility.
I have an open donation and the family and I stay in contact. I was a foster/adopt parent for 3 years before I became pregnant and the biggest aspect of the training for that was “bridging the gap” with the birth family (not just mother/father, but other relatives as well) because there are MANY studies out there that show that children do best when they have access to their roots and history. Sometimes, such as with most international adoptions, bridging the gap is not possible but I urge families to keep the doors open if they have that option.
One thing to consider VERY carefully with embryo donation through these “adoption agencies” is that ability for open donation. So many do not do this and if something were to happen medically and you needed family information, or your children once grown wanted desperately to find there roots, there is no guarantee that those “adoption agencies” would even still be in business let alone retain your records because currently there is no government oversight or requirement for them to do so, unlike IVF clinics which are much more regulated.
One more consideration with these pseudo-adoption agencies is their cost and selection process and “home studies”. Going through a clinic involves no cost other than the cost of the FET and any admin charges for their contracts or what not (my clinic charged me zero). It is a very fine line to walk between facilitating donations and selling embryos.
Lastly, one major benefit to my open donation is getting to see family photos of the donors and their children and extended family. One amazing thing we have discovered is that my children actually have physical traits of MY family. I know several other ED families who have noticed the same with their children and there are many studies out there on epigenetics. It is nothing short of amazing. My daughter looks like my clone and my son looks like a cross between the donor families twin boy and my brother when he was a baby. It is an amazing experience and a true gift to be a family through embryo donation.
I think it is a wonderful gift that these families give to those of us who would otherwise never experience pregnancy and may never have had a family. But I caution folks to advocate against it being called adoption and to scrutinize those agencies out there and don’t be afraid to ask hard questions of them. There are other embryos available out there through other means such as directly from IVF clinics. The long term impact on IVF is something we need to consider, but also, I do not want my children to ever consider themselves as adopted because that implies that they have birth parents out there who could not, for whatever reason, care for them. These children of mine are NOT adopted. They were created within me through the help of a gift from another kind family. My donors are not their birth parents or even their biological parents, because as my donor said to me “You carried them in YOUR body and that makes YOU the biological parent”. It was their DNA but my body helped determine which genes would be expressed and to what degree and my body made the building blocks that took a tiny clump of cells and grew it into a baby.