Adopting An Embryo, Ctd

by Chris Bodenner

A reader strongly considered donating:

My wife and I went through the process of in vitro. (And when I say “we”, I mean she endured all the work and physical suffering while I became an expert masturbator. Little known fact: if you have not donated sperm for fertility procedures, you are still a novice. Yes, this means you should keep up your practice.)

The second implantation was a success. We started discussing using the final three embryos for another child when she became pregnant the old fashioned way. Positive we don’t want to implant any more of the remaining embryos, my wife and I face the decision of what to do with them. I struggle with the idea of donating them to another set of parents, mostly because I know how fragile I am at 38 and believe some part of it sprouts from my genetic code. And my family and I are experts in dealing with our brand of crazy. I know my two-year-old needs me, and I guess I just don’t trust anyone else with that responsibility. It is a mix of selfishness and insecurity (and an odd dose of self-righteousness) that makes me believe donation to medical research is the right alternative.

I thought we had made the decision, but the paperwork sits on our kitchen counter and the cryogenic freezer bills still show up every quarter. With all the effort and mental anguish over 3+ years, whatever we decide, it seems like something I will think deeply about for the rest of my life.

Another couple made a different decision:

My husband and I have twins via donor-egg IVF and we had 16 embryos left over. We assumed we’d donate them to science – after all, it was science that enabled us to have our twins in the first place. But after a few years of paying for the freezing fees – for our boys’ “potential siblings on ice,” as we called them – we were pushed to make a decision; the fee was going up and we realized we were sitting on a bounty. Why not give another family a chance at parenthood?

My husband was hesitant initially.

He was the one with the DNA connection to our boys’ frozen siblings. But he pretty quickly came around – no emotional toil! We both felt: Hey, wouldn’t it be cool for our boys to have siblings we didn’t have to potty train and send to college? I will admit that we wanted some level of “control” over who did get to raise our kids’ fro-bros. We are Jewish atheists (not an oxymoron, as you know), and we posted a Match.com-type ad on a website stating, essentially: Republicans and Christianists need not apply. Does the world need more children raised by the likes of Rick Santorum? We felt not.

We got seven takers and chose a non-religious, pro-Obama couple in another state. We drove three hours to meet them and had a lovely chat. We decided that we’d stay in touch and eventually would have our children meet each other.

Unfortunately, the wife miscarried twice with our embryos and blew through 13 of the 16 with no child to show for all the money and heartache. They then turned to the Czech Republic (much cheaper) for a fresh cycle (higher success rate than frozen) and now have a newborn daughter. We don’t know if they’ll try again with our three remaining embryos.

My motivation in this whole endeavor had nothing to do with the embryos or their “right” to life. All of the fertility treatments I’ve been through have only confirmed my belief that life does not begin at conception. Conception doesn’t mean shit. Neither does implantation. Walking out of a hospital with a newborn in a car seat – that’s life.