Wanted to share my experience with Embryo Adoption


#1

Hi,
I hope this is this right place to post this.

I’m a father of a wonderful 6 month old son that my wife gave birth to May 2011, via embryo adoption. It’s been the best experience of my life (both of our lives) and I’ve become a huge fan and advocate for embryo adoption. It literally changed our lives.

Some background- like many people led to this path, my wife and I endured 6 years of failure at every type of attempt to have children. It was something of a private hell that was difficult to even share with others. I know my wife was at a point where to suffer another miscarriage or other unfortunate outcome may have been just too much for her. Back in June of 2010 we were at our lowest point: we hugged each other and tearfully agreed to close the door on that chapter for good, and begin the process of traditional adoption. We knew that was looking down another long and winding path, but we were ready to get started.

About a month later, my wife was having a routine medical checkup, and the subject of failed attempts came up. The doctor suggested why not try embryo adoption? He gave my wife the number of an IVF clinic here in Los Angeles that also runs an embryo adoption program. Despite all our prior research, we were both unaware of the entire concept. But we were immediately intrigued.

We called the clinic to set up and interview, and when we went for it, we were struck at how the attitude was a bit like, “Gee, it’s great that people actually know to come to us for this.” Like people weren’t exactly breaking their door down to take advantage of the service. I know not all IVF clinics are directly involved in E.A, but I recommend calling around and finding out if any around you might have this.

We talked with the doctor who would do the procedure if we were to adopt- a very helpful guy, and then we were sent to the person in charge of adoptions. (I don’t know if it’s allowed to name doctors and clinics by name here).

I just wanted to relate this to anyone that’s hesitant about going this route: I found it surprisingly straight forward. I’m hoping that many other IVF clinics that provide this service make it as straightforward. The way I see it, from the clinic’s perspective it’s simply good business in providing more IVF implant procedures, and more ‘satisfied customers’ to put it bluntly, so other than legal matters or individual state laws, I’m not really sure why any IFV clinic wouldn’t also have an E.A. program.

We basically filled out some forms on our preferences for adoption- what ethnic origin of parents we’d prefer, donor age ranges, things of that nature- and were then told to come back after they’d matched us with some prospects. When we came back, we got to look through information on the prospective donors, -no names of course- see pictures of them and the children they had from the very same embryo batch. We an overview of their family medical histories, etc. – a level of choice in adoption I’d never dreamed was possible.

We really got to take our time, in fact we came back three different times. Each time they had picked out more choices for us, and each time we had several ‘possible’ picks that would probably have suited us fine. The third time they presented us with a couple that just struck us as perfect for us- similar backgrounds and interests, and they had two beautiful kids. We chose them, and adopted 13 embryos- we’ve used two in the process of having our son.

The legal matters went smoothly- we were lucky to have a friend who is an attorney that could handle the legal proceedings for us. I think we spent a total of about $2000 on legal fees. It was our responsibility to cover both ours and donor parents’ legal expenses. I didn’t consider any of it excessive, especially compared to the gargantuan expenses of traditional adoption as I understand it.

I don’t know how laws vary from state to state, but in California the process seems pretty straightforward from my perspective. There were none of the other requirements of a straight adoption by the state (home visits and such) it didn’t seem to me much more from a legal standpoint than transferring ‘property’ from one party to another, and the agreement that any child would be our sole responsibility.

Of course, we never had direct contact with the donor parents, only communication using aliases via our attorneys. We added an agreement in the legal documents that if any children we had should ever want to meet their ‘biological family’ that they can when the time comes request contact via attorney. Pretty much sign on the dotted line and that was that.

From there, it was just the same process of IVF (without the most expensive harvesting part of course) which we’d been through before and knew the ropes. My wife was fortunate to have a wonderful, enjoyable pregnancy, and equally good childbirth.

Anyway, it’s been six months since we had our son, and now we’re considering a second child from the remaining embryos. We pay a $600 annual fee to keep the embryos in storage- eventually we’ll have to make the same choice as the original donors what to do with any leftovers, IE: put them up for adoption ourselves.

One thing that I wonder if others have experienced: because via the process you’re able to almost custom-pick the donor parents and see other children that give you a good idea of what yours may look like, one can have a child that could well look in every way- even giving birth- as if naturally yours. We’ve found that for us, this really raises an issue of whether to tell other people if he’s adopted or not.

It seems like a minor thing, but now that I’ve seen people insist “Oh he has your eyes!” or whatever, it becomes difficult to break up the well-wishing by reminding that he’s actually adopted. But on the other hand, it also makes a very interesting ‘origin story’ if you will.

I tend to be pretty open about it, but I’ve really started to notice it’s much more personal for my wife. I think her perspective is a lot different- she carried this child for months, went through everything to have him, and now I wonder does it somehow give her the feeling of diminishing her role even slightly by making too much of him being biologically adopted.

It’s not that these are major issues, but they’re little things to consider.

My parent in particular presented an issue. I wonder if others have a similar experience. Close family, I think get very myopic in the way they see things. We told my parents from the outset what we were doing, but sure enough, many months later and a giggling grandson in their arms and everything we told them was right out the window. They insisted “He has your grandfather’s eyes, and you Aunt’s this…” etc… and when I realized they were serious about all this, I felt it was just wrong to let this little ruse go with my family. I had to remind them- nicely of course- about the little one’s true origin.

It doesn’t matter one bit, to them or us, but it’s just one of those things that I wanted the full truth of his existence to be recognized for what it is by at least the closest of family. And yes, we plan on always being open about it with our son.

So basically, don’t be surprised unless you remind them every day of the process that your family may totally forget your little one is an embryo adoption and in their minds they’ll be seeing the spitting image of great uncle so and so.

Anyhow, that’s our story I wanted to share. My sincerest hope that if there’s anyone in the same situation as we were before all this, when just the mention of the words “embryo adoption” literally turned everything around for us and changed our lives, that someone else may be helped by any little bit of my experience. For us, it was the absolute perfect solution, and I’m positive it will be for others considering it too.

Take care, and all the best to anyone starting out or thinking of getting started on this amazing journey!


#2

Great story!

[COLOR=“Blue”][FONT=“Comic Sans MS”]First, congratulations to you, your wife and your son!

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I are exploring donor eggs and possibly donor embryos and your story was touching. I especially like that it was the man’s point of view. I’ll be sure to have my husband read it.

Best of luck as you try for child #2.[/FONT]


#3

Thanks so much for sharing your story! DH and I are going through our first attempt with donor embryos ourselves. In our case, it’s a little different, bc this was a directed, known open adoption, and our legal contract specifies ongoing contact, but we were comfortable with this and actually preferred it over an anonymous situation.

Regarding the look-alike thing, DH keeps wondering if my body essentially building up the little one’s body in any way affects their looks. To my knowledge, it’s all in the DNA, but he isn’t convinced. I’m actually not worried about people thinking we look alike (if we will). I say that about people that aren’t related all the time - if a friend reminds me of a celebrity or something.

But it is still a loss that you won’t see your own unique features in each other. Hence, I think it is important to recognize the adoption aspect of it. It’s a lifelong decision, not just a conception decision.


#4

First off, sorry it took me so long to respond.

[QUOTE=Hoping4aLilRedSoxFan][COLOR=“Blue”][FONT=“Comic Sans MS”]First, congratulations to you, your wife and your son!

Thank you for sharing your story. My husband and I are exploring donor eggs and possibly donor embryos and your story was touching. I especially like that it was the man’s point of view. I’ll be sure to have my husband read it.

Best of luck as you try for child #2.[/FONT][/QUOTE]

Thank you so much for your kind words, and best of luck to you and your husband as well. :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=GWU1991]I truely enjoyed your story and as an adoptive mom I was so happy to read that you are being open with your child and your family about your child’s origins. I think it is so very important and is often overlooked in embryo adoption and even egg and sperm donation.

Good luck to you and your family![/QUOTE]
Thank you!
I couldn’t imagine being anything other than open with our child about his origins when he’s old enough to understand. I may be wrong, but I believe that it would lead to an eventual resentment and possibly even be damaging if we kept his true origin from him. It strikes me as cruel for him to suddenly find out he’s been lied to really. Maybe my thinking on this is a bit harsh, but that’s how I see it.

The one thing I’m wondering though, has it been your experience yet -or do you think it may be- that there is a time when sharing his story becomes the child’s decision, and not the parents? I picture a time when we may want to make it completely up to him who and when he wants to share his being adopted with, not just for us to bring up without his input.

My wife and I have always been interested in adoption- at first our goal for our ‘ideal’ family was one of our own, and one adopted.

[QUOTE=anilorak13ska]Thanks so much for sharing your story! [/QUOTE]
First of all, thank you. Secondly, it’s funny because both of us have wondered the same thing as your husband; so much of her is physically part of him because her body basically ‘built’ his in a very real way. So even if not genetically- so how much does that affect him? It’s such an intriguing thing to wonder, and I have to believe the science on the subject is fairly new. Of course I don’t think he could have her genetic material- but on some biochemical even spiritual level… who knows?

And you’re so right about it being a life long decision not just at conception! Personally, it’s the best decision I’ve ever been part of. :slight_smile:


#5

First I want to say I loved your story. Second I want to let you know about epigenetics. This has become very interesting to me as I am about to have ivf with donor eggs. It would probably be better explained if you just google it but it has to do with the baby taking on characteristics of the mother. Consider the eggs/embryo just the material and the carrying mother building the house. As I said I am not explaining it very well but it’s worth checking out. I will post a link if I can find it.


#6

[B]hellokitty[/B] - wow, thanks for sharing that info, I’m on it! Will def look into it.

[B]GWU1991[/B] - whenever I think why God had us go through so many years of failed adoption attempts, I realize that it’s for the wealth of information I may not otherwise have. One such key factor is the openness you mention.

AFM, quick update, we have transferred 2 of our adopted embies, and we have a preliminary :bfp: on 2 hpts! Beta is on Friday.


#7

What a great story! I, too, have a son through embryo donation. I went through the process in Georgia through a clinic, and it was even less of an ordeal. The donating couple (who has used an egg donor) “donated” their leftover embryos to the clinic and signed a document waiving all rights. We did not have to get a lawyer involved. (Although I am a lawyer, I don’t practice family law.) The clinic then placed the embryos with me. I didn’t get to pick from multiple options, but my clinic was able to place with me embryos from an egg donor with my ethnicity and coloring. Of course, my boy doesn’t look too much like me. I am blonde with light eyes, and he has chestnut hair and brown eyes. (Oddly, so did my biological mother!) But I still get comments from folks about how much he looks like me. I think they are just trying to be kind. He is, in fact, WAY cuter than I!

Since I had Davis, Georgia has enacted legislation recognizing “embryo adoption” and creating a fast-track system where I could legally adopt my child. I haven’t bothered with this process. Because I gave birth to him and am listed as his mother on the birth certificate, I am legally his mother. And I’m not terribly worried about the couple donating the embryos trying to get my child back at this late date. Even if they tried, I’m pretty sure that no court would permit them to do so.

Like you, I’m a big proponent of being open about my boy’s origins. I met with a therapist before the embryo transfer, which was a requirement of my clinic. She said that young children are very open about their origins, but it could be damaging for an older child to discover that he or she is not biologically related. It’s a harder concept to explain to him, since I did actually carry him and give birth. I’m trying to lay the foundation for my son’s understanding by thanking God for the people who gave me my “baby Davis seed” so I could grown him in my belly. Still, I worry about making sure he both understands where he came from and understands how much he was wanted and how much he is loved.

Congrats on your baby boy!!!

Kathryn.


#8

P.S. Congrats Anilorak!!!


#9

What a great story to read! My husband and I recently failed our 4th IVF cycle and are moving on with building our family thru embryo donation/adoption. It’s nice to see you had such a successful experience.

I’ve spoken with most of the “adoption agencies” and really think donation is the route we want to go thru b/c we don’t really believe a home study and legal paperwork is necessary. We currently live in HI and are looking at clinics in the CA area.

embdad, do you mind sharing the name of the clinic that you went thru?


#10

[B]hibiscuschic[/B] - If you go to SART: IVF Success Rates and click on the state of California, a new window will open up with a list of fertility clinics there. Click on each clinic name to get another new window. Then click on the bottom on ART Data Report. Scroll to the bottom, and you’ll see if the clinic offers a Donor Embryo program. Word of caution - I found out that sometimes this information is wrong. When you call the clinic for more info (or visit their website), some of the ones that list donor embryo programs actually don’t have one, or it’s only for their own patients. But you should be able to find a good chunk of options this way.

The other option is to go to Welcome to Miracles Waiting - All About Embryo Donation to try to match directly with donors. Some donors list profiles, and to contact them, you need to register for a one-time $150 fee. Other donors don’t have profiles and will only contact hopeful recipients who have profiles set up.

Our first donor embryo match was through a local clinic that I found via SARS. They fell through at the end of my mock cycle. Our second match was through Miracles Waiting, and I’m currently PUPO w/ a tentative :bfp: on hpt.

Good luck!

ETA: These are options for donation programs, not adoption. Like you, we didn’t want to go through the adoption hoops, bc we already had 3 homestudies and 3.5 years of failed attempts at traditional adoption, even though we do think of it as an adoption and have an open arrangement with the donor family.


#11

We would like to donate our embryos

[quote=hibiscuschic]What a great story to read! My husband and I recently failed our 4th IVF cycle and are moving on with building our family thru embryo donation/adoption. It’s nice to see you had such a successful experience.

I’ve spoken with most of the “adoption agencies” and really think donation is the route we want to go thru b/c we don’t really believe a home study and legal paperwork is necessary. We currently live in HI and are looking at clinics in the CA area.

embdad, do you mind sharing the name of the clinic that you went thru?[/quote]

We have 18 embryos frozen at a clinic near us in Iowa. We would love to find good parents who would give them a great life! Please let us know if you are interested. 515-745-5399


#12

hellokitty, thanks for the heads up about epigenetics. I’d never heard of it; very interesting stuff. Now I need to do some reading up.

kblythe, it’s great to read your story, and congrats on your son!

It’s interesting how the laws and processes vary from state to state. I really like the idea that parents see a therapist (for the child’s sake of course) before adopting to get some professional insight on the subject. It’s encouraging to see that the therapist’s advice seems to be along the lines of what I’d tend to think is best also.

hibiscuschic, sure, so long as the forum allows mentioning clinics by name. We used Fertility and Surgical Associates in Thousand Oaks, CA. Their website has a link for contact information for their in house donor embryo program. I can’t say enough good things about how well we were treated, how competent the staff is and how pleasant the experience was for us.

Best of luck to you and yours!


#13

Very nice to read a dad’s post.

My husband is so in love with our son (as is everyone else!) - it doesn’t matter where his dna came from!

I can only post quickly because my little former snowflake is getting crabby and wants his nap!

I just wanted to say that we shared our decision to try donor embryo with a lot of family but not many friends. And now that he is here, we have sort of stopped talking about it. Because it is no longer our story. Our story was how we used donor embryos to get us to parenthood. Well, we are here now! And HE is here now, there is no more donor embyro - there is a person.

So now the journey is his, the story is HIS. We will not share it or discuss it openly with anyone BUT HIM. Now it is his to share or not. That is how we plan to move forward.

Congrats to all on your little miracles and BFPs!!


#14

Thank you for sharing and it is so cool to hear this from a man’s perspective. Its no surprise you two will embrace that child. I am single and scheduled for IVF here soon. If this does not work and I do FETs and no pregnancy, I will do embryo adoption. I plan on going thru my clinic or another one…there is a waiting list at most of them but oh well. I do not plan on using an agency since the fees are high and the home study is ridiculous, plus they discriminate against singles. My GYN also suggested embryo adoption if my IVF doesnt work. Best of luck to you and your wife!!!


#15

Hello embDad your story is very amazing:clap:
I’m from Switzerland (sorry my bad English) and for 2 years we have in vitro fertilization 4 treatment in the clinic Procrea in Ticino in Lugano . Initially, we had tried four years in a natural way to get children and have noted pretty quickly that the problem was closer to my husband because the sperms were not at all well, and then Azoospermia with a genetic change in a Robertson translocation with Karyiotyp 45. After a consultation it was still worth a try because some couples have children with this diagnosis in a natural way. My health is not particularly well, I’m taking tablets for years to treat high blood pressure when stopping the pill to have been suffering from hormonal migraines during the period. At that time I took strong painkillers for 13 years since 3 years ago I discovered the plant medicines of Sanat and can now live with chaste tree without migraine. I used to run from one specialist to another, but without success. Where the chemistry doesn’t help there will help the heal of the plant, which was in fact at me like that! Well the doctor had to abstain from any medication even though it was at my high blood pressure is a major risk, I had heart palpitations at night time. Today I know that this was recommended by my doctor after wrong with all the complications. During the first hormonal stimulation with Gonalf it was only a single egg there so we have done IUI with husband, which was also negative. At the next treatment, the dose was increased to twice and there were 3 eggs fertilized at the pick-up with only 1 of which was used in the transfer and was therefore not able to be frozen! Even now we have decided adversely to sperm donation, the next therapy had brought back only 1 egg, so we have done IUI with donor sperm and also negative. The last attempt was the IVF with donor sperm with two eggs taken at pick-up and fertilized with sperm donation, but only 1 of them was good. During the stimulation was then formed polyps. Well, this was also prevents pregnancy. Well after 1 year break is the desire for children is still there and we have thought about embryo donation/adoption and go to the clinic Gennet in Prag which has very good results and very favorable. Some of my former colleagues are now in the clinic Gennet of Prague, some are dealing with embryo donation/adoption, egg donation or IVF with donor sperm to become pregnant or have already been and her baby was born while others are now as I have before. I wish for all who have the both side problems on to learn to embryo donation/adoption for hormone stimulation than those which can be extremely harmful to health endure. Wish you all much strength and hope that it arrives at all but at some point! If somebody would like to keep in touch with me I’d be very glad:woohoo:[FONT=&quot][/FONT]


#16

Can you message me with the name of the clinic? We are looking at embryo adoption, but at least one place we looked at does an “open” adoption and even home studies. We prefer the anonymous route. Other places require that you go to them for ET; I want to use my doctor and just need the embies shipped.

I’m new to this forum and haven’t figured out how to private message someone. Thanks.


#17

Slightly - well, if you find embies at a clinic, they will not ship them elsewhere; you have to transfer there. Otherwise, they won’t make any money, bc it is illegal to “purchase” embryos. Therefore, the only way you can have them shipped is if you first “own” them, which would only take place if you found a donor family on a site like MW and “adopted” them. Now, there ARE some families on MW that don’t necessarily want an open arrangement, or they want very minimal contact, like just the ability for the child to reach out if they want, or to get medical info. I’d go to the site and read through the available donor posts to see if any of them may be what you’re looking for. It can’t hurt. It’s free to look, and if you want to contact any, there’s a one-time $150 registration fee, which would also allow you to set up your own profile so other potential donors who do not have a profile set up could contact you.

Other than that, you’d need to find a clinic with their own ED program, and there many if not most donor families want to remain anonymous. There are sites I don’t remember off the top of my head that you can go to and search for clinics. If you PM me I can see if I can find them and send them to you.

Anyway, best of luck to you!

ETA: SART: IVF Success Rates (this site lets you locate clinics in your area where you can then see if they have EA/ED programs, and you can contact them directly for details.)


#18

[quote=SlightlyOCD]Can you message me with the name of the clinic? We are looking at embryo adoption, but at least one place we looked at does an “open” adoption and even home studies. We prefer the anonymous route. Other places require that you go to them for ET; I want to use my doctor and just need the embies shipped.

I’m new to this forum and haven’t figured out how to private message someone. Thanks.[/quote]

To my knowledge there is NO clinic that runs an embryo donation program that will ship them to another clinic. That is why they do it… to make money. The previous poster is exactly right on this and her advice about Miracles waiting is probably going to be the ONLY way to get embryos shipped to your doc for ET. If you want to know the name of the clinic we are using, let me know. Its in CA, its annonymous, good success rates, and nice people so far. Good luck to you…


#19

Thank you for sharing. May I ask a question though? My husband and I are on the other side of the equation. We have 4 frozen embryos that are genetically good - tested to be totally normal and viable – 2 girls and two boys. We currently have two babies under three years old, and we might use one of the 4, and then potentially have 3 leftover frozen embryos. We really can only handle having a total of three children total - financially and practically speaking (we both work very stressful jobs and work a lot, and don’t have the finances to raise more than 3 kids - the IVFs were paid for through very good employer insurance). My husband wants to donate. He is a very strong Christian, and, to him, there is no question that life begins at conception and that we cannot let our embryos “expire” in a petri dish, because that would be equal to abortion. But I really don’t want to – I will always feel like that is “my baby”, and I will want to jump in my car and drive to the house of the embryo recipient and ask for “my baby” back (not really but in my mind that is what I would want to do!). Meaning, I will always feel a sense of total attachment and a sense of loss by not having “my babies” with me. With that said, would you, as the recipient couple, feel good about adopting embryos from a couple like us – where one biological parent is unwilling and resentful and hesitant? Either my husband is going to “win” and have his way and we will donate to another couple, or I will “win” and we will let the 3 remaining embryos "expire’ in a petri dish. Clearly there is no winner here…Thank you in advance, Sara.


#20

As someone on the recipient end, I might be hesitant to “adopt” the embryos because I wouldn’t want to a. have you decide down the road that you want him/her back b. cause a rift between the couple. There is always the option of open donation as well. I think this is a decision that you and your DH have to make together, when you are ready. Just my two cents! Hope everything works out for you. I do know, as a potential recipient one day, how grateful I would be to you. Best of luck on your decision.