Thursday, December 10, 2015

Embryo Adoption: All The Possible Outcomes

Now that the application is in for placing our remaining (homeless) embryos, we are in a place of gathering records release information so that the ball can really and truly get rolling on this process. Which is somewhat of a chore, actually...

We had to the release form that required notarization from our latest clinic in Buffalo. Then we did Snowflakes' release forms, one for the Female Parent (Regardless of Genetics) and one for the Male Parent (Regardless of Genetics). I found that wording very interesting, because even though we are each missing the genetic link in one of the two sets of our embryos, we are actually the parents of said embryos. Because we are the ones who created them, who carefully selected the genetic heritage to somewhat match our own. While the various donors are part of the heritage of whatever child/ren result from these embryos, a baby wouldn't come into being without our own contributions and our labor of love to create these little frozen babylings. Even though it is confuzzling, it also makes total sense.

The problem is, the information that needs to be gathered is not all from Buffalo. Snowflakes needs information on the donor contracts, embryo culture reports, communicable disease reports, and cryopreservation. And Buffalo doesn't have all of that. They have the embryo and cryopreservation reports for the blasts, and communicable disease reports for me, but not for the sperm donor. Because the 2PNs weren't created at that clinic. They were created at our first clinic. And the egg donor information is all housed at the first clinic, although I have a copy of the profile. Lastly, everything pertaining to the sperm donor is housed at the cryogenics facility where we "purchased" the sperm pop. (I guess I don't need the quotation marks, because we did indeed Add To Cart, but it just seems a bit tawdry to say that we bought some sperm.)

So, apparently, we need to fill out forms for our first clinic and the cryogenic sperm bank as well. Fun times.

While that's all getting sorted out, it's interesting to think on the whole What If aspect of embryo adoption. Assuming that all the paperwork goes through okay and we can be cleared to actually donate/place these embryos that are the result of four different people's genetics, there are so many outcomes that I have had to sort through and think on, in terms of how I would feel...if.

How would I feel if no one wanted our embryos? 
I have the utmost confidence in Snowflakes that they will eventually find the right family for our little embryonic potential children. But what if it's harder than we thought for them to find a match? What if people get hung up on the whole THESE PEOPLE WERE NEVER EVER EVER SUCCESSFUL, WHY WOULD WE BE thing? Because it's not like we were concerned with proven material when we were looking for an egg and then a sperm donor. Oh yeah, that's right, WE WERE OBSESSED WITH PROVEN DONORS. We have the interesting experience of having donor material that definitely resulted in multiple pregnancies for different people for both sets of embryos, but neither material could make up for the maelstrom of misfortune that was my uterus. I really think that I can claim that the uterus is the common link between both embryo transfers, including our own, and that it's very likely that the culprit was my womb. Which is very bad for me, but excellent for whoever wants to take a chance on our frozen babylets.

Basically, someone taking on our embryos would need to be okay with risk, but also have uber confidence in their own amazing uterus. There's got to be someone out there like that, right?

How would I feel if no pregnancy resulted from either set of embryos? 
I think I would be sad. Sad because the poor buggers just didn't have a shot regardless of whose womb they were deposited in. But it would also make me sad because we would never know why they didn't work. Maybe it's just crap luck. But I would feel sad for us, sad for the little embryos, and sad for the couple or single mom-to-be who tried this amazing option and were unsuccessful. Maybe, completely illogically, I would feel a little guilty. I need to not, though, because people who are seeking embryo adoption know the risks involved like anyone who is going through IVF. There are no guarantees and everyone knows that.

It would still be sad. But I could be happy in that we did our best to give those embryos a chance.

How would I feel if a pregnancy and birth occurred?
Oh boy. I would be very excited that the embryos got a shot, and that it worked out for the embryos and for the couple or single mama who received them. I would be glad that we got an answer. And then I would be SO SO SO INCREDIBLY SAD for probably a fair amount of time, because it would mean that it truly was my uterus, and that I will never be pregnant but this other person was able to be, with our embryos. It would probably be fairly painful up front and I would probably need to call in sick so that I could wallow and cry and be puffy and watch sappy movies in pajamas all day (could I feasibly call that Bereavement Leave? hmmm...). And then I would be okay. Because somewhere out there, nope scratch that, out there with a parent/parents that WE HELPED CONNECT WITH OUR EMBRYOS, would be this child or children who exists because we created the beginnings. A child with half of us, or maybe children with parts of each of us, separately. It's kind of amazing and sad all at the same time. Like realizing that we could have done gestational carrier too late, but being okay with the fact that the person pregnant with the embryos is also going to raise and parent them as children while we parent our own child through adoption. This family tree is going to be ridiculous, more like a stand of intertwined mangroves with roots and branches alike all twisted together.

I can't tell you how many people have said, "Doesn't this make you think you should do/should have done gestational carrier?" and the answer is NO. We were never comfortable with that option. New York State is not friendly for that option. And we could do gestational carrier and not end up with a baby just as easily as any of the other infertility treatment options. We are so happy with our choice to adopt. We are enjoying this process, even though we are in the same place we were five months ago (but hey, it's only five months). We do not want to go down the infertility road again. I am more than happy to place these embryos and give another person a shot while giving these embryos a shot, while we go down our own path that is very different in many respects. I am okay with skipping over the pregnancy piece, even as a vicarious bystander. I am just fine with receiving a last-minute call where we go from a household of two to parents in 24 hours or whatever. It is okay.I have let go of participating in a pregnancy.

What if one set works and the other set doesn't?
This one is hard. How would I feel if mine didn't work but Bryce's did? I think I'd be sad. I'd be glad that the embryos that we created together worked, but it would be the final death of my genetic material. I'd be happy for Bryce, though. And it would sure be neat to see pictures of a child that was part Bryce. (And to be honest, the egg donor that was chosen for us had a LOT of similarities to me in terms of hair/skin/eye color, so there's that.) If mine worked and Bryce's didn't? I'd mourn his genetic contribution the same way we did when we chose sperm donor, but it would have a finality this time. I'd be happy to see a little half me in pictures and whatnot, but again we picked the sperm donor with so many similarities physically and in character traits that it would be a loss but also a close approximation. Either way we both mourn again, and either way we both would have a reason to celebrate.

No matter what the outcome, it's a mixed bag. Some happiness, some sadness. Some celebrating, some mourning.

We are placing our embryos to give them a chance, but it also has the side effect of giving us data, some answers on why we might have been so unsuccessful. If they don't work at all then we're left with just as many questions. But if one or both sets work? I feel like we could draw some conclusions from that. And, of course, there would be these children running around in someone else's family that exist because we made decisions years ago, and tried so, so, SO hard to make babies out of a variety of genetic material and so, so, SO much love.

That's pretty darn amazing. I so hope that this process works out for everyone involved, and that the best of all possibilities can become reality.


  1. This is really informative stuff. I would love to share your post.
    You can visit at my hospital - IVF Centre in Delhi.
    Basically this centre is based in Punjab. You can avail affordable infertility service from any region even from foreign countries also.

  2. I hope it works out too! You are doing a great job at navigating all these mind-boggling decisions and possibilities.

  3. Wow. So much to ponder when going down this route. I think that if another couple does get pregnant using your embryos it would make the blow a lot easier if Mystery Baby was already in your arms. I keep hoping that it happens soon for you guys!

  4. Following our third failed round of IVF and while we were regrouping following being told to wait by the adoption agencies, Grey and I talked a bit about what to do with our two final embryos. Though we ultimately got data that made us proceed with a final transfer, we also discussed embryo adoption. And my big fear was we'd be rejected because I wasn't able to sustain a pregnancy. But additionally, I know it would have been crushing to learn someone else was able to get pregnant with them when we were still in limbo. So your thoughts are very insightful. I wonder if I would have felt differently if we were on the road to adopting or had decided not to parent. I'm sure it still would have been hard, but there would have been closure on multiple fronts.

    Whatever the outcome, I hope that you both get the call you've been waiting for very soon and that you find peace with outcome of these snow babies.