Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's it like to have a donor embryo baby?

We're considering a bunch of options on how to move forward. You've read many of our thoughts on the matter since we lost our sixth pregnancy in November. We now have a new possibility we're strongly considering.

A wonderful friend has completed building her family using embryos made from donor egg and her husband's sperm. She has offered us her remaining embryos. Eleven of them.

We are stunned by her and her husband's generosity. And we're really considering it.

But it also raises many questions. In my mind, I have a paradigm of what adoption is and how to explain it - to myself and to others, what donor egg is and how to explain it, what surrogacy is and how to explain it, but donor embryo is a whole new arena for me.

And it's a new arena for the world - one that is relatively unexplored. Much of the reading I've done on it says some version of: Congratulations on choosing embryo donation/adoption- you're a pioneer! (subtext: no one knows yet the social or personal outcomes of embryo donation, because it's brand new. Good luck!). If we went this route, we'd have (if we're lucky) a child or two who is not genetically related to myself or my husband Will. But who I would give birth to. Down the line, if we saw that my body could support a pregnancy, we might be emboldened enough to try again with our own wonky embryos.

But I have so many questions. I'm someone who does not take decisions like this lightly. I want to think through all the potential consequences. And so something like this that is so new, is, well, a little extra scary. Some of my many questions are: what would the impact on a child created in this way be down the line? We're in contact with the family who would donate to us and so our child will see these wonderful folks periodically. I'm also wondering how we would explain the donor embryo situation to the world, or if/ when we would even need to. And I'm wondering how our families would react and feel about this (would they love or feel bonded to the child any less?). And I'm wondering how our child/ren would feel and what identity issues they might face once they were old enough to really understand what this means (We'd tell them from the beginning, but I'm thinking late childhood/adolescence is when they'd really grasp the nuances).

So I'm hoping to hear from any of you out there who have used embryo donation as a family building option: what has it been like? What have been the most difficult parts of using donor embryo? Do you think you are any differently attached to your child than you would be if you were genetically related to them? (realistic or not, this is a fear of mine). How often do you even think about that fact? How's your family been accepting the child? Have you told other people in the world (beyond immediate family)? And if so, how has the world responded to you? What else would you want to share about your experience now that you've been through it - any things you wish you'd known then that you know now?

Feel free to comment anonymously if that allows you to be more open with your thoughts.

Thanks for your candor, your wisdom, your experience. We really appreciate it.


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  1. I think embryo adoption is a wonderful option. It is something that we never considered as we went the DE route and dh's sperm wasn't an issue, but I can imagine that it would come with many similar thoughts and feelings.

    I have no assvice for you on how to feel or what to do or think, just know that whatever you choose, I will be here supporting you.

  2. Wow, what an amazing offer. I really don't know what I would do in that situation, but I imagine it would be hard to pass that up. I know when we were weight out our options it was VERY important for my husband that I carry the baby because he knows I eat really well and am very cautious. He was VERY open to the idea of donor sperm (which we almost went with). He favored Donor sperm over adoption which I thought was very strange. I had always assumed it would make us more "even" if we were both not the "biological" parents but the most important thing to him was knowing what happened with the baby during those 9 months. I think every family has to make the decisions that are right for them, if embryo adoption is something you both feel good about, then do it. Either way we are ALL behind you.

  3. We have 7 donated embryos of which we which we will be transferring 2 this summer. We will be facing the same issues , mostly because we are older parents and plan to tell our child, older children and family. I am uncertain about the general public, but do not plan to lie if asked. My biggest concern is my dad who always mentions that his cousins's two daughters are adopted from China. It make me wonder if this child will be the donor baby.

  4. I don't have personal experience, but I don't really see the difference between adopting a child when after she/she is born or when he/she is just an embryo.

    My extended family includes my cousin- the first grandchild, the one every aunt and uncle doted on for years before she became a big sister- and she was adopted over 40 years ago now. Nobody loves her any differently. And I don't imagine that anyone would have loved her differently if she was adopted as an embryo or an infant.

    As to the role that genetic relation plays, I think this blogger was really eloquent in describing her experience becoming a mom first through adoption, then through getting pregnant:

    I think any child- embryonic or otherwise- would be blessed be yours.

  5. I personally think donor embryo is an amazing option! What an amazing offer! As you know we are pg with DE embryos and at first I was TOTALLY on board (a year ago). Then I crashed and burned ie grief of what I had to give up (genetics). But the reality was that for me I would lose my genetics no matter what option I chose and if I didn't choose DE, adoption, etc. then it would have to be childfree and that for me and my DH was far more terrifying. So once I grieved and said good bye I began to embrace DE. I had my moments throughout the process but such moments became less frequent. I have somewhat of an idea of how we'll tell our child but I don't have to figure this out right now. It will come to you in time. But that baby will only ever know you and your husband as its parents. And without you the baby would never have come into existance. I think of all the research I have done, the earlier you disclose the genetic origins to the child (in age appropriate information) the easier it will be for the child to build this important peace into its identity. I hope there will be other bloggers that can comment with respect to personal experiences using donor embryos. Whatever you decide, I wish you peace in your heart as you decide which way to go. Donor gametes and embryos do have some similiarities and of course differences. But I think alot of the questions are the same. Don't let such questions bombard you...just trust that you will come to the right answers in time.

  6. Delurking to comment: My only thought is this: you said if you succeeded with donor embryos you might feel like trusting your uterus to your own embryos again...that brings up the question of do you think of the donor embryos as "less than" your own embryos. Because that's something to consider...there are numerous options to build a family but if you automatically think of certain ones as less than...could be tricky.
    I also see the advantage of being able to control the uterine environment, but I also know that for infertiles who have suffered recurrent loss pregnancy can be almosot nothing but pure torture as the entire nine months there is an anticipation that something awful will happen. Are you up for that, emotionally, physically, etc.? Just another thought.
    At any rate, I think donor embryos can be a great idea--haven't done it myself or known anyone personally who has (although how would I know really?) so it's good to keep all your options open!

  7. Nothing of stelar insight to add here, it sounds like you have lots of options.
    Here is my opinion if I could have used donor eggs, and been pregnant myself I would have, I would have preferred not to have a genetic link but to have given birth myself(and being able to control their health for those 9 months). My husband wanted children genetically related to him, so donor embryos were not an option.

    As you know, we went the gs route(my egg), and I am constantly told how they look nothing like me(especially by people who know we did surrogacy).

    Personally, I would go down the donor e,bryo or donor egg route first, and giver you a shot of carrying your own children.

    As always, hugs from the north


  8. No advice...we never considered donor anything...I was just done with my body. Yes, I understand the need/want to control the uterine environment and experience pregnancy but personally, I just had to be OK with not getting those things in order to move forward psychologically. And I just didn't really want to go through any more exhaustion and fear with my own body... For what it's worth I don't regret our decision for even a millisecond.
    We were also more comfortable thinking about future conversations related to adoption vs. explaining donor (assuming you actually had to tell anyone outside of immediate family). It's all so personal--I know it's hard to wade through all of the potential issues--hoping you get some good advice on all of this.

  9. My comment is similar to anonymous: I think it's telling that you stated that if you were able to carry the donor embryo to term then you would "be embolded enough to try with your own embryos."

    The only other food for thought is that if you are successful with donor embryo then you will have to tell your child that she/he has genetic siblings - your friend's children. That can be a lot for a child to comprehend. Not saying it's a deterrent - just saying it's something to consider.

    While I didn't do donor embryo, I did do donor egg and I can personally attest that once you become pregnant, either through DE or donor embryo, that's YOUR baby and you feel bonded for life. I thank God (and I'm not religious!) everyday that I have such a beautiful daughter and I know she is mine. People don't know we did DE and they comment all the time on how much she acts like me and looks like me. We were lucky because my younger sister was our donor so there is a family resemblance.

    Donor embryo is such unchartered territory that I hope you find the guidance you are seeking. Good luck.

  10. This sounds like a terrific opportunity for you! I agree with the other 'Courtney' in that I only view it as early adoption. When my husband and I were figuring out how to build our family, we discussed donor embryos and we were more keen on that than just donor egg or donor sperm. My husband would have nothing to do with donor sperm but was very open to donor embryos and adoption. In fact, after that discussion, we decided that if we ever had embryos left over from our own IVF cycles, that we would donate them.

    Now that we do have frozen embryos, reading your thoughts, your concerns, and your honesty about this has made me feel even better about our decision to donate if we have remaining embryos after our family is complete. I hope we get to give our frozen embryos a chance at life, but if there are a few left when we're done building our family, they must get a chance at life with another family. I love knowing that prospective parents like you think this seriously about how they're going to love that potential baby.

    I wish you peace as you make this decision. Just from following your blog and knowing how badly you want a baby, I believe that if you choose to adopt those embryos, that the donating family will be very happy with their choice of you as parents :)

  11. What a fantastic opportunity! I think of eggs, sperm and embryos as baby seeds, not so much genetics. I am making a baby using donor sperm and plan to explain to my (possible) child that there is a very nice man somewhere out there that gave me some baby seeds to help me make make him/her.

    To me, embryo adoption is very different from traditional adoption because there is no element of abandonment. From what I understand that is one of the primary hurts adopted kids have, if they have any: Why didn't my birth parents want me.

    Best of luck, I will be following if you don't mind :-)

  12. I am loving the fact that you have options - and the fact there are such lovely, wonderful people out there who want to help. Makes my heart sing.

    I don't know if you have ever looked at the 'Stirrup-queen' website - amazing in itself - but she has an incredible 'blogroll' list including a list of people writing about/going through the donor option/surrogacy etc - any information there will be from the horses mouth, so to speak and straight from the cliff face. Her link - if this works - is

    big lovex

  13. Embryo adoption: YES. It's just a form of adoption. Some people adopt a newborn, some people adopt a toddler, some people adopt a teenager, some people adopt an embryo. It's a wonderful option.

    Adopting embryos you 'know': NO. Please do not do it! In my country it is specifically forbidden. If you know who the genetic parents are you're bound to have long-life issues. If you actually are FRIENDS with the donor(s)... Wow. Don't do it. Explaining a five-year-old that some good persons gave you a little egg and a little sperm so that you could have a baby to love is easy. Explaining why he looks so much like uncle Robert... Well. Please, don't do it.

  14. One other thing...a great book I read when I first waded into DE was "Mommies, Daddies, Donors & Surrogates" by Dianne Ehrensaft. I purchased the book online Amazo.ndotcom. Ms. Ehrensaft is a psychologist specializing in third party reproduction. It helped me to wade through my anxieties about the whole "surreal-ness" with regard to third party reproduction. Every anxiety or thought you could ever dream of is discussed in this book. And yes, once you have grieved the genetic loss, during my DE pregnancy not once have I thought this child is not mine. Just a few moments of reflection when other's conversations about "oh she looks just like her mother/father". But I would imagine this would cause DE, DS, DEmb, adoptive parents to pause and reflect and I am quite certain in time after a while I won't even do that anymore. So its a process. But its all a process!! And for me, the #1 deciding factor to choose DE was to experience pregnancy and control the prenatal care. I was very familiar with IVF and knew very little about adoption. After all we had been through, I didn't want to go through another learning curve. Good luck.

  15. OH and in the book she covers DEmb but not as extensive as it is just emerging. But I think you will find good use in the book for both you and Will. Okay...I'm done hogging the comments section!

  16. OH and in the book she covers DEmb but not as extensive as it is just emerging. But I think you will find good use in the book for both you and Will. Okay...I'm done hogging the comments section!

  17. Thanks for posting this question. I am going forward with embryo donation in March with my clinic. It is a closed process and reading anon comment about knowing the parents I disagree, I wish mine were an open adoption. I think its a wonderful and extremely generous gift from your friends. As Lisainsk says, there are books out there to help us wade through the pioneer part of this and how and when to tell the child. Another blog I read, Rebecca from the road less travelled is also doing an open embryo donation. Like yourself she is a very eloquent writer and she has written about the whole process and even though they were not friends to begin with, she has met with them and are friends now. Before I started my blog, I did see a video of a 16yr old girl who was a donor embryo talk about her life and how she responded to knowing about it. It put my mind at ease to see a teenager talking openly about it. If I can find it again, I will post it for you. Best wishes in making your decision.

  18. Wow, I read some of your blog and you have been through a lot. I only did 2 IVF's and did not have any embryos to freeze and then went the route of donor embryo. I knew nothing about donor embryo until my fertility doctor told me about it. We got annonymous donor embryos through my fertility doctor. They gave us information about the parents (all annonymously) such as medical histories on family, etc....We ended up choosing one. I now have a beautiful little girl. She just turned 1. She does not look like my husband or I, but some people say she does....I sometimes but not always say she was a donated embryo. Most people need an explanation as it is new. We love our baby just like she was our own genetic material. She is a beautiful part of our lives and I could not imagine my life without her. It was definitely a positive experience for us.

    Throughout the process, our fertility doctor required us to speak to a psychologist specializing in this. She helped to answer our questions and point out the social implications. As she pointed out...who is to say that your donated embryo would not be better than you own. Like you I was older and I felt that my eggs were to old to hold a pregnancy. Nothing was found wrong with either my husband or I during Fertility process. Also, as a result of aging your likelyhood of problems defects...etc...I would definitely recommend embryo donation. My case was a little different than yours in that I used totally annonymous embryos.

    I know I have not answered many of your questions, but I hope this helps. Best of Luck to you. It sounds like you have been through so much already. I hope everything works out for you.

  19. We also have been considering this option. I have spent hours researching this topic, e-mailing people who I found online who have had success with this option. I think it is wonderful that people are giving left over embryos a chance for life. Many others who I spoke to treat embryo donation like an adoption. Some told the outside public they did an IVF cycle and left it at that. Many of them liked the idea of treating it like an adoption. It doesn't scare them as much. It also gives them an idea of how they may explain it all to their children. Many of them said they liked the thought of contributing to their child's development in uetro. That they got to participate in bringing this child into the world. One concern that has crossed many peoples mind who decide to do this is what may happen when the laws catch up with this new technology and many said they would never go forward with this without a good lawyer. Good Luck! Although it is such a wonderful new option I know it raises tons of questions!

  20. I think your own embryos have as good a chance of making it to live babies as your friends'. Even better perhaps if you consider using a GC. What I'm trying to say is, give your own babies a chance first - after all, you've gone through a huge deal of pain and expense to mother a genetically related child. And don't let your concerns make you feel bad - embryo /sperm/egg donation is not the first choice for most people and I should imagine that going for this would have involved a process of grieving and acceptance for most. If, God forbid, none of your embryos make it, then by all means, consider other options. I think my other option wouldn't be embryo adoption - I would rather use DE and create a child who is at least genetically related to my partner. I wish you all the best. I'm praying for good news for the two of you.

  21. That's a tough one. I'm not sure I would use DE from a known source, but I understand the genetic parents wanting to know that they're going to someone wonderful.
    What I DO believe is that once they place a baby (toddler, child) in your arms, they become YOUR child. I would not worry about falling in love with them...I'm told that you will. I wish you good luck in making your decision...any option that works for you is the right one. Hopefully you will get good advice from those who actually know firsthand about DE...I'm clueless, but wish you the very best!

  22. No assvice, just lots of support to you & will as you navigate thru all of this ; ) So glad you have options, so wonderful that you are so thoughtfully & carefully considering how all options would effect you all (mom, dad & LO). Keep on working your way thru this, you are so wise...I feel like the right thing to do will come to you-and only you and will can know what is right for you both!

  23. No personal experience, but I love the idea!

    Though I'm very open to all kinds of family configurations and I realize some people are not.

  24. I've found the PVED forum really helpful as we've been working through having my sister donate her eggs to us. A lot of talk there about how to talk to your DE children (and others). There's already *a lot* of experience out there that I think would be relevant.

  25. Agree with the other posters that going the donor embryo route is like adoption but that in your case you would KNOW the biological parents, so it's like an open adoption except that you're carrying the babies. (Nice as you don't have to go through an adoption process, home study, etc). As for what your family would think, what would they think if you and Will adopted a child? Perhaps ask them?

    One thing that I like about donor embryo over adoption is that when the children are born, your offspring would never have the question as to "Why did my parents give me up?"

    As an adoptee, I've often had that question of my biological mother (whom I know quite well as her aunt/uncle adopted me when I was 11 months old) and there's been some anger and resentment around that.

    I am using donor sperm in my IVF cycles and it was a very hard decision for me to move in this direction. I was quite tormented by the idea that my child might not ever know it's father as I didn't know mine until I was 30 or so and he didn't know I even existed until then. I found an "open identity" donor which helped alleviate my stress over that. That your child would know it wasn't given up and it would also know all of its parents seems like a fabulous idea.

    I think that your friend's offer is wonderfully generous.

  26. What a wonderful gift. I view it as just a really early adoption and I think you should too. After all you've been through, I think this is the best option. Families and extended families are built in many different ways.

  27. I don't know about donor embryos themselves but my daughter is mine genetically but we used DS, which not many people in real life know but lots online do...hence it isn't in my blog but I comment about it on other blogs all the time. It was a lot for both of us to think about but we seem to have been very open to it from the beginning. Genetics didn't mean much to us for some reason. I would have gone with an egg donor in a heartbeat if anyone ever hinted it was my eggs...but they could never tell, so we plugged along with mine. I just have to say that since my daughter's birth, neither my husband nor I ever really think about the fact that she is from a donor. Even funnier, she totally resembles DH more than much so that everyone comments on how much like daddy she is. Its a riot. We just kind of giggle. I think raising a baby is way more important than whose genetics go into it. For that reason, DD will be the result of her upbringing (good or bad, lol).

    Anyway, I got an email a few months ago from another blogger whose blog is private. She and her husband went with a donor embryo and have a beautiful son. If you are interested in chatting with her, I can dig up her email and ask if she'd like to chat with you. If so, email me at She was literally blissfully happy after the birth of her son and they are an adorable family...

  28. I forgot to amazing of this family to donate their embryos to you. It never fails to amaze me what incredible people you find in the IF community.

  29. I have no advice, but I just wanted to extend my support! That is an amazingly generous offer from your friend, and I definitely think it would be a great avenue to explore if you find that you are okay with any potential issues that may arise. It's a big decision, and I wish you clarity and peace as you move forward.

  30. My husband has Klienfelters Syndrome and he cannot produce sperm. We will need a sperm donor but I struggle with the same questions you have posed. A very good mutual friend of ours has offered his sperm but I am not sure. I wonder if my husband will love the child as much as he would love his own.

    Good luck in your decision

  31. What an generous and wonderful offer. Its a complicated issue, one that I might have to myself consider down the line, so I've given some thought to it. This is the way I see it right now: I've always thought that there would be misgivings and doubts right upto when I actually did the procedure. But if that embryo actually implanted and started growing inside me, I think from that point on it turns into a completely different ball game-from then on, its YOUR baby, period. And I think I'd be absolutely fine with it.

    About how the child would react- the only I have to wonder about,in your unique situation, it would be like an open adoption where one of the biological parents is still in that child's life. What would that be like? Would it make this better or would it make it a little weird, or would it not matter?

    But then, all of life is complicated. You put people in unconventional situations, they adapt and do beautifully, just as long as there is a lot of sensible love and support, which I'm sure will be there here, from all parties involved.

    I really like to think that destiny is involved in all of this- if you were destined to have this baby, then everything in life that happened till this point was maybe working towards that.

    Its one way to reconcile with all the crazy, sad stuff that happens.

  32. De-lurking! First of all, what an incredible offer! Also, Linda makes some very valid points and I agree with everything she says, except I'm not an adoptee.
    I am however a mom to a daughter through adoption and I love her to death, regardless of the lack of a genetic link or not giving birth myself. She is my daughter and is so much like me in personality, it's scary.
    What I will point out is that no matter what, there will be times when you have to tell some people there is no genetic relation to your baby. When it comes time for medical information, you would be AMAZED at how many things require info you just may not have access to. If your thoughts are to hide the fact from your child, you may want to rethink it. Although, I don't get that impression from what you've posted, just playing devil's advocate.
    That being said, I think DE, DS, embryo/infant/toddler/teen adoption are all wonderful ways to build your family. I don't think one is better than the other, just a matter of personal choice. Each one has pros & cons but if the end result is parenthood, then it's not really important how you get there.
    Wishing you nothing but success with whatever path you choose.

  33. Wow, what wonderful friends you have for offering you this opportunity! I think families are created in many different ways in our modern society (and in evolutionary history, and currently in other cultures, being raised by non-bio parents happens all the time). You and Will are well-equipped to deal with the issues that could arise regarding identity, etc. Having access to the bio parents could be a wonderful thing when they reach the age of having lots of questions. We found speaking to a psychologist who specializes in these issues helped enormously. For the record - her thoughts are - the kids are all right ;) Good luck.

  34. Long time reader, first time commenter, fellow clinical psychologist here. First, HUGE congratulations on passing the EPPP - well, not just passing it, but kicking it's a**!! MAJOR accomplishment! Hope that you have been able to truly enjoy this in the midst of the infertility black hole.

    I have been thinking a lot about your post since reading it yesterday, and I have to agree with the other commenters who have said that embryo donation from a friend (even as compared to a "known" donor - someone you have met a few times and formed a relationship with for the express purpose of this donation) is a much more complicated proposition, emotionally. First, your child will have at least one genetic full sibling (your friend's child), and perhaps more genetic half siblings (if your friend's husband has fathered other children). How do you and Will feel about this?

    Second, you will know, and perhaps see frequently in a social context, your child's genetic father. How do you feel about this? Imagine you and your friend's family get together, and you notice some similarity with your friend's husband - will this bother you? Or Will?? It seems to me that Will's perspective is particularly important, as he is the one who would naturally experience the most complicated feelings about all this.

    Third, are you prepared for any collateral damage to your friendship if things do get messy down the line? You can imagine a million scenerios, but life always gives us surprises, and this seems to be the most risky part of donation from a friend - you have an inherent "dual relationship" of sorts, and despite all the best intentions going in, things can go awry in ways you don't expect.

    Finally - and I very much hope this does not come across as critical in any way, because it is absolutely NOT meant to be - I have been struck in following along on your journey by how much you and Will seem driven by a desire to KNOW, and to understand, "why is this happening to us?" Certainly a very normal, and noble, desire, and one that is reinforced by all of our training. I wonder if this donor embryo scenerio is appealing to you because it appears to offer a fool-proof way to answer one of the major questions that has eluded you - is it my body, or our embryos? (For after all, these exact (genetically speaking) embryos have produced a real live baby, so if you get one too, then you know it's your genetics - if not, it must be your body.) If this has any ring of truth, I'd encourage you to try to spend some more time coming to terms with the fact that there may not BE any answers. As advanced as science is, it cannot understand or control all the many variables that go into this incredibly complex and intricate process. Emotionally, I wonder if you may be in a better place getting out from under this all-consuming desire to know, rather than making further decisions driven by it. Or at least, please be very careful about those decisions.

    Wishing you some peace, clarity, and understanding - even if not an ANSWER - moving forward.

  35. I echo earlier thoughts the fact that the embryo donors are FRIENDS - which is a large step different from KNOWN. I think known embryo donation could be very excellent. But this arrangement with a friend could really complicate your friendship and will likely make your experience parenting (thinking ahead) considerably more difficult.
    Perhaps it is just me, but I find parenting very complicated - and even when you loathe to compare yourself or your children, it happens. Questions about your (my?)ability as a parent seem to be a requisite part of being a mom. And it is hard! I think it would be umpteen times more difficult to experience with a completely genetically-related child growing up in a different household. Even though you can say the individual's child's temperament and skills are innate characteristics (and brothers and sisters tend to have differences) I can't imagine the first time my child throws an all-out tantrum (because it does happen) while my friend's child is angelic. Etc. etc.
    BUT! I think if you are even considering your friend's offer, then open up the conversation and consider other avenues of Embryo adoption. If this makes the path more easy, find out why...what is it about the offer that appeals to you? Can you find that through another embryo adoption opportunity?

    Just my assvice

  36. Whoa! I think genetics is being given too much power here. Take a step back and think of the people in your life whom you love, adore, couldn't live without? Are they all genetically linked to you? Probably not. I adopted my daughter and the only regret I have is not having been able to carry her - specifically her - to be born. She's mine, DNA means nothing. I share no DNA with my husband but I love him. My BFF, I could not live without her - no DNA link there either. For me, losing the experience of pregnancy and birth is what hurts the most about IF. Having to jump through hoops to become a mommy ticked me off too. The fact that I share no DNA with my daughter hardly ever crosses my mind and never mattered at all in our love for her. :-)

  37. This is the video - it is actually about donor egg rather than embryo donation. Hopefully this link will work.

  38. I am on the waitlist at my clinic for donor embryos. My clinic required we met with a psychologist who does have experience with it. And she really helped us to process the outcomes. I would say it's kind of a hybrid between adoption and donor eggs. There are things from both sides. But if you do find out more information, I'd love to hear about it!

    I think one of things I struggle with is the effects for them of having unknown siblings out there. We don't think much of the impact for our future children when using donor egg or sperm- they are curious about their half siblings and "bio" mom.

  39. O!M!G! Just left you a voice mail. Call me! Love you.

  40. Okay, read your post just before leaving work. I'm home now. I want to talk to you in detail, but I also think my response here could also help others.

    First of all, as a donor embie mommy, I want to say that whether you accept this offer or not, what an incredible gift. From one infertile to another, a true gift from the heart. It made my heart swell when I read this today. I recently discovered that after meeting me and Sunshine at an SMC event last Summer, a women donated some of her frozen embryos to another woman she met there. Women helping other women become mothers. Magnificent!

    How do I feel as a donor embie mom? Blessed. I love this child so much. There is nothing that could make me more attached or more crazy about her. IMO, genetics do not necessarily create attachment. For over 40 years my mother has been searching for herself in me. It has not been good for our relationship. I love my daughter for the wonderful, unique person she is.

    My family adores her. I'm very open about her origins. Obviously, my openness depends on the situation. I usually explain it by saying that I tried unsuccessfully to conceive with my own eggs, but I was very lucky that during that process I met a woman who had done IVF (sometimes I include that it was a donor egg cycle, sometimes not), and that she had twins, and donated her remaining embryos to me. "She's my miracle," I say. "And she has a big brother and big sister who live in Canada." I have not gotten a single negative response to our story.

    I am a big proponent of open donation. I hope it will become the future of embryo donation. Just as we have learned that open adoption is generally better for adoptees than closed adoption, I think access to information and siblings is a good thing. It was what I was looking for. I was not comfortable with a closed embryo donation. I wanted to be able to answer my child's questions.

    As to how the children will feel, I'm sure that will vary greatly from child to child. Even though she's way too young to understand, I already talk to Sunshine about how we became a family. I also make an effort to meet and be friend's with other "different" kinds of families. DE, SMC, etc. A single friend just brought home her DE daughter, born to a GC last week. These are much wanted, much loved children. Just imagine my Sunshine giving your son or daughter a hug and saying with a big smile, "I'm a donor embie kid, too!"

    Regarding the possible complications of accepting embryos from friends, only the 4 of you are in a position to judge if the relationship will work well.

    Sorry for the novel here, but I just want you guys to be parents already!

  41. I've read all of the comments and I'm so impressed with all of the pros and cons already mentioned.

    The only thing I might add is this. There is that possibility that you are very successful with these donated embryos and end up with multiples. Then you may feel "complete" once those babies are in your arms and then you might need to decide what to do with your own remaining embryos.

    We now have two children and we have 3 embryos left after MANY years of trying. We feel complete but I am really having a hard time even considering saying good bye to our embryos and donating them. For so many years we just wanted a baby, we just wanted lots of embryos. The thought of having too many embryos never would have occured to me to be something to worry about. BUT now we are on the other side and let me tell you, it is HARD. So, please think about this too. Sorry, I'm sure you love having just one more thing to think about. :)

    Regardless, this is a wonderful option and I absolutely agree that it is no different than an early adoption. You are giving these babies a chance at life that they would not have otherwise had. I will say though that I personally would have a very hard time donating our embryos to someone that we know and watching them grow up, knowing that they are biological siblings to our own children. That is just me though.

    I'm sure that it will all work out if it feels "right" to you and to your friends. Thank God for options!

  42. I just know that there's no experience, no privilege more overwhelmingly wonderful than being a mom (in my case, by adoption), and I hope and pray that mom-hood happens for you - someday, somehow, and soon!

  43. Okay, just a thought here. What about keeping the donated embryos in reserve until after you use your own? My donor committed the embryos to me before I went through my last ditch cycle with my own eggs, and told me that even if I did get pg during that cycle, she would hold on to the embryos for me until I had my take home baby. My chances of a baby from the lone embryo in that cycle was about 1%, but it made going through that cycle much easier emotionally knowing that a proven batch of embies was waiting for me. It felt like a safety net.

  44. I haven't waded through these comments yet, so others might have said similar things.

    Donor Embryo/embryo adoption (some think of these as separate things) was/is the thing I said I'd never do. I also have no plans on adopting, if this donor egg plan bombs. I have multiple reasons, mostly having to do with not wanting my child to have a 100% genetic connection to children in other families and have absolutely no genetic connection to either me or LG (obviously I have a different take on half-siblings, or I wouldn't be using DE/DS!). I think that would be particularly tricky if the donation were open, as you're talking about. I also wanted control over the choice of donors. And in many donor embryo cases (unless DE is used, as here) the quality isn't nearly as good as starting a fresh cycle on your own.

    And practical terms, if someone I knew, online or off, offered me embryos from a proven donor? I have a feeling I'd say yes in a heartbeat.

    Mo, I wish this were easier for you. But I like this opportunity presenting itself...maybe there's a small bit of hope?

  45. I hope this doesn't come out wrong. I do not mean to offend you or anyone else. If I were in your situation, I would ask myself the following question: why am I choosing to use donor embryos when I still have my own? If the answer is that I'm not prepared to endanger my own embryos because I don't fully trust my body, then I would conclude that using the DE would be unethical and wrong. The donor embryos deserve the best shot at making it, and to be deeply mourned if they don't. I hope and pray that someday soon you will be holding your baby.

  46. delurking to comment. didn't read all other comments, but wanted to share our story. D embryo seems like adoption. we adopted a newborn and I can tell you I could not love him any more if he were my genetic son. one attraction to d embryo is that I could have breastfed him, which i am so sorry i was not able to. also, you could get prenatal care which my boy didn't, though he is healthy and normal.

    some have cautioned about the embryos being from friends, well my son was adopted from a friend. sure there are adjustments and at times it has been awkward, but we are working through it.

    it is possible and could be great.

    good luck with whatever you decide.

  47. Wow. Lots of good comments. I have to strongly agree with the anonymous commenter who is a clinical psychologist regarding the feeling as a reader that this could potentially offer you an 'answer' to the 'my ute' or 'my eggs' question. I agree that sometimes there isn't really an answer as crummy as that truth is.

    I also echo several other commenters on the generosity of the offer. What a wonderful option for you to consider.

    Lastly, I would say that *IF I WERE IN YOUR POSITION*, which I'm not, and I don't have your experience of heartbreak, I would want to try with a few more of your embies first. Because if you do a cycle with the DEmb and it works but you want sibs, then you'll be closer to 40 and even if the eggs are okay, your ute is getting older, KWIM?

    In the end it's just an opinion and we all have them, but if bearing a child is what's most important to you, I'd give your blasts one last chance.

    I know that whatever comes, you'll make the very best choice for you and Will and I am hoping and praying that you become parents someway somehow, very very soon.

  48. Friends of ours did DE after a couple miscarriages of their own, and had a gorgeous baby boy last year. They spoke with the donating father (he and his wife had finished having kids and had split up, and he had custody of the embryos) beforehand, but don't have a close relationship with him. The baby couldn't be more theirs and is the apple of their eye.
    11 embryos sounds like a pretty good way of getting yourself a baby to love, and maybe even a sibling further down the road if all goes well. I'd seriously consider it if both of you are ok with the idea.
    And friends of my brother finally had the opportunity to adopt a baby when they'd just gotten pregnant from a DE IVF. They are in love with both their children, and obviously treat each the same way, even though their genetic origins are completely different.
    I don't think it matters where your children come from, just how you grow together as a family.

  49. What an incredible offer from your friends. You have received such thoughtful input - I don't have anything to add, but just wanted to say that you are incredibly strong and brave to be considering all possible options, and their ramifications. You and Will will be magnificent parents, however you get there, and your child(ren) will be bonded to you regardless. For me, the bonding wasn't instantaneous, even with our own "genetic material." (That was surprising to me, given how wanted and longed for our babies were.) It's been a process that required me to get to KNOW them as they grow and develop. I loved them from the get go, but the bond everyone refers to has come with time and has been separate from the genetic aspect.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and for all of your encouraging words. I'm always humbled when you comment. xx

  50. i did not read the book of comments you already have - i'm cheating and just posting.

    we did two IVFs that were a bust - due primarily to my AMA, i think.

    we went to counseling to an IF therapist - that helped a lot. we didn't know what we wanted to do next. maybe nothing. donor egg was too expensive. adoption was expensive, too.

    after a few months, we decided to research donor embryo. we did not do "adoption." one, there is really no such thing as legal adoption of embryos and i'm a lawyer so that always bugs me. it is LIKE adoption, though, yes. we didn't want to do home studies and all that either. we also wanted it to be anonymous.

    we did our first donor FET in august with one good embryo (we decided on single transfers only), then tried again in september. i am now 23 weeks pregnant with a healthy boy.

    there is so much i would tell you - but maybe you could just browse my blog - it would save time! lol. i have a great article about the "myths of donated dna" at the top of my blog, too.

    my husband and i were quite sure there was nothing so fantastic about our genetics that we HAD to exhaust all options to get pg with our own dna. that made the decision much easier.

    all i can say - its a great option. i am so grateful - there are no words.

    on the "friends" as donors subject - not sure about that one. i don't think i would be comfortable with that, but i have not been in that situation.

    anyway - best of luck as you sort through this! its been a long time since i've been to your blog and was so surprised to see this topic! i feel pretty strongly about it so i had to post!


  51. We have had a wonderful experience so far. Our son is 6 mths old. Family is supportive, friends are supportive. If anyone has a negative opinion... they haven't had the balls to say it to our faces. We received anonymously donated embryos from our clinic. It is a bit sad to me that we won't know the donating couple or be able to thank them. I know that the road is uncharted for how the path will go. We plan to be up front with him and he will know his origin. We have purchased books to help explain it to him from a young age. One thing he will always know is how much he was wanted and how much love his genetic parents must have had in their hearts to bring him to our lives in this loving way. Only a couple who has gone through infertility would know how much the act of donating embryos means to the recipient family. The best we can do to thank them is to raise him in a loving family and we are doing just that.

  52. Hi,

    This is my first time eading your blogs ,i and my husband went through infertility ,where in we were not able to use my husband's sperm ...after much discussion we went ahead using donor sperm and we have a beautiful healthy 9month old baby girl ,my husband loves her unconditionally was such a hard decision to make but now we feel blessed and we have somuch love for eachother it will not matter once the baby is here

    good luck with your decisions

  53. HI Mo . . .
    Delurking to comment. I have a five year adopted Guatelmalan son and a 1 year old donor embryo baby girl. It would be impossible for me to love them more. After adopting our son, I knew the only treatment I would try would be donor embryo. I wanted my kids to be on the same playing field, and I feel they are. The story of my son's journey to us is beautiful, and the miracle of my daughter's birth is amazing. I have such beautiful stories to tell. We have a unique little family and I would love to give you more of my insight if you would like it. We often get lost in our happiness and forget that we are not biologically related to our children. We are such lucky people. We know that we may face challenges in the future in explaining our stories to our kids, but we are hoping that the self confidence and happiness we instill in them will rise about everything else. My name is Lisa . . . please let me know if you want more details :) Good luck!

  54. Embryo adoption is wonderful!!! In fact, I'm going to hug and put my adopted embryo twins to bed right now- best of luck!!!

  55. A good friend used donor embryo for her second child - single Mom after her husband left her with their 2 month old son - b/c she wanted to have one more child. I think it was a great option since her own eggs prematurely expired and she seriously looked into adoption as well. But I know she got some judgement from even close friends. Again with the "just adopt" advice and and also some statements about the morality of it ... she was hurt at times from the negativity. Now she doesn't tell anyone new and she laughs at the comments about how much the youngest resembles his brother or her. She told me without a doubt, she loves them equally (this was a route I'd been considering) ... that was her greatest fear.

  56. I am all for donor embryos - in fact even though we are going through the donor sperm process, We are still on the waitlist for donor embryos at our fertility clinic.


    I really think you should use your embryos. Because I think that is what you really want.

    Your friend is wonderful for offering, and maybe you can keep those to the side in case you get through your embryos. But I know what my first option would be.

    Whatever happens, we have your back. I know it's a tough decision

  57. We have 18 month old twins conceived through donor embryos. We used donor embryos versus adopted embryos because the adoption of embryos felt weird to us. We have a lovely open relationship with our donor (she also has twins from the same batch of embryos which means that our twins have two full blood siblings). Our experience has been nothing short of miraculous and amazing. We tried for 10 years to conceive, having a myriad of miscarriages in those years and embryo donation was our saving grace.
    If you would like to chat about it, please feel free to email me at twinsfinally at gmail dot com

    I have a blog that you can follow (though I won't post it publicly) in which the twins' lives are the focus.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  58. I have my daughter by way of a donor egg and my husband's sperm. I have no idea how I'll explain things to her when the time comes. I have no idea what I would do/be without this little girl in my life. What I do know is that I love this child so much I can't breathe, and I wouldn't do anything differently. I went with the choices I had at the time and I've surprised myself with how little I even think about looking back. I don't care how she got here anymore. It was a long difficult decision to use donor eggs, and if I'm being completely honest worried all through my pregnancy about it. I'm a worrier, it's what I do. But I don't question my DE decision anymore. All I do is look at her face, and I know we'll work everything out somehow. And that kind of faith is not something I typically have...

  59. Hi Mo,
    I'm new to your blog, here via LFCA. I just spent an hour or two reading through your history, and am so sorry for everything you and your husband have gone through. As a new reader, one thing that jumped out at me was the (relatively) large percentage of pregnancies you have had on your own, without any medical intervention. And it sounds as though the extensive testing you did at CCRM demonstrated that you do make chromosomally normal embryos, even if the percentage of them is lower than normal. Based on my reading of the research on RPL, if I were in your shoes, one other option I would consider is taking a true break from any sort of medical treatment, and trying "naturally" (ha! we all know what that means...) for a longer period (6-12mo), while simultaneously pursuing adoption. What do your doctors say about that?

    I apologize in advance if that sounds naive, or if there are reasons I've missed that it doesn't make sense for you, or if you have already considered (and rejected) this course of action. I just thought I would offer an "out of the box" perspective as someone new to your story...

    Best of luck whatever you decide. Very much hoping you welcome a baby to your family soon!

  60. To me it feels like adoption and surrogacy wrapped up in one. With surrogacy and adoption come the same issues you will face - having to explain to your child(ren) they have other siblings and you're not their biological parents. If the thought of that makes you feel uncomfortable then wait. You don't have to make any hasty decisions. Unless you feel peace about what to do don't do anything.

  61. My husband & I had our first donor embryo FET this past December and I am now 14wks pregnant with our baby. We have an open relationship with our donor family who we were matched with through Miracles Waiting. They live in another state, but we've met twice now and plan to provide opportunities for our future children to see them on occasion. We have told our families and several close friends & co-workers about embryo adoption. Every response we've received has been positive and in general people are very interested in this option. Here is a link to some wonderful materials put together by the Donor Conception Network which talks about how to talk with your donor conceived children about their background at different developmental stages...
    Also feel free to e-mail me with any further questions. A link to my e-mail address is available on my blog. Wishing you the best of luck as you consider this option. Our experience has been amazing from the beginning and we're so thankful for EA.

  62. Alexicographer sent me here- I don't read blogs much. My ex-husband was a cancer survivor and I went through 10 years of donor embryo hell- 26 embryos from 4 different donors produced 5 FETs, 4 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages and 3 kids (I have a 10 year old son from one donor, and 3.5 year old boy/girl twins from the last donor.) I spent years agonizing and analyzing all the details and long-term ramifications of embryo donation. I don't even know if my blog is still active, if you are interested, send me an email and if the blog still exists, I'll send you the password. Otherwise, we can email back/forth or talk on the phone if it would be of use to you.

    The short answer is: my 3 kids are worth every damn minute I went through for them, even though I am now raising them on my own, which is something I never expected to be doing.

    Good luck to you.

  63. Oh, and I know my donors. Didn't know them before they donated them to us, but we are facebook friends and talk periodically and do holiday cards and all that. Can share the pros/cons (there are both).

  64. I have one biological sleeping upstairs and nine DE on ice waiting to come home.

    I dont care if the DE baby/babies were part squirrel. I just want them sleeping upstairs with their sister.

    Congratulations Mo. I hope this is the variable that needs to change to get your Take Home Baby.

  65. Oh my gosh....I have soo much to say about this. My donor embryo baby just turned three months old...she is awesome! AND...I have a genetic son from IVF 3 years ago and let me tell you...IT FEELS NO DIFFERENT! feels better...almost more special because I just feel so blessed that someone would just give this gift to us. We do not know our donors...but they are similar to yours...they used an egg donor and the husband's sperm. I have info on the egg donor as she was from an agency with an open profile, but I only have ethnicity, general info and family medical history on sperm donor.

    We are extremely open about Genevieve's roots and we have had the best response from everyone...even the older members of our family are thrilled about it and just think it is great. I have thought a ton about all the things you mentioned in your post...especially since our son is genetically linked and she is not...would be more than happy to talk to you about it if you can email me at


  66. I haven't read the comments, but I'm glad to see there are so many.

    I can't speak to embryo donation, but as an adoptive mama I can tell you wholeheartedly that I could not love my daughter any more than if she were made from parts of me and my husband. I truly mean that.

    also, our families have embraced their granddaughter, niece and cousin with love and without hesitation.

    sure, there are other issues as an adoptive family, just as there would be in your situation. I'm all for openness, as I think it can help a child develop a more integrated identity and can give them a sense of the incredible love that went into building your family.

    how you choose to share your child's story with others or not is up to you, at first. our daughter is still too young to understand her story, and I am very proud but protective of it. while I don't ever want her to be ashamed of her origins, I don't want her to ever feel like it is public domain either. anyway, we have yet to see how that part will play out.

    best of luck to you both with whatever you decide.

  67. and one more thing. no doubt people will tell you not to use DEs from someone you know socially. I don't think this is a decision to be made lightly. in fact I think a bit of counseling could help work through some of the complex emotions that could arise, esp with will if the bio-dad is a friend.

    but I also want to say that so many people fear openness, but it often comes from a place of insecurity or just a fear of the unknown. here at least you know the donor family, and your child could know other siblings. as for any insecurity, that's where the counseling comes in. anyway, I think openness can be a wonderful thing. I really don't understand families that keep such critical information from the child.

  68. Okay..I am back...I couldn't type much last night because I was up pumping and only had one hand.

    Bottome line...from a love, attachment and affection perspective...having a baby through embryo donation is no different than having a baby from your own genes. When I had my son, I thought that because he was in my body and made from us (even though it was IVF)...I would have this overwhelming TV moment when he was born and feel a physical rush of love that just can't be defined....NOPE...did not happen. I loved him...I was really excited...but essentially...he was a stranger to me other than knowing his wake/sleep patterns in my belly. He actually knew me better...he knew my voice and my husband's voice and was more in tune to me than me to him. It took a good 6 weeks for me to get that "rush" of emotion. Maybe it was sleep deprivation, maybe it was because he was breech and I needed a c-section, maybe it was PPD...I don't know...but you will find that on the day your child is think you can never love another person that much...but you will be wrong. The love just grows and grows and now 3 years later I look back and barely loved him then compared to how I love him now...and it is mostly due to nurture...NOT nature. Spending time, loving, cuddling and getting to know this new person is what creates that unbreakable parental bond. So...when we decided to pursue embryo donation for our 2nd child (since #1 was too hard to get and I was already 42)...I had no doubt I could love and parent that baby the same. I was right...but what I was wrong about was those first few days...when she was born I was overcome with emotion (another that was ruled out)...I was sooo bonded to her soooo quickly. It pretty much felt the same as with my son, it just came sooner. And having her here at home feels so "right"...she is the child God meant for us to have. We are very open with people who we are close with (she looks NOTHING like our son so we get a lot of questions)...most people are in awe of how generous that other couple was to donate and how great it was we had this option to complete our family. In the was talked about a little more than I would have liked because it was all new to everyone...but now it is just part of G's history and our family tree. It is really only discussed now when I bring it up or when someone asks me point blank who she looks like? Where did she get all that black hair? And I am more than willing to share that we were gifted an embryo and that she is genetically different than us. The conversation is usually quite short.

    As for her...psychologists recommend telling the child early...make it part of her early knowledge so it is never a suprise. I am making a shutterfly book called "all about Genevieve" will tell the story of how she came to us using pictures of her doctors...the embryos we transferred, pics of her in my belly. It will be something we read from a very early age and then as she gets older we will add more and more information as she is able to understand it.

    There is a large EA blog world out there....I follow several and would be happy to share links with you if you like.

    I know this is a tough decsision..especially with your own embryos still in is a very economical route too...if you don't go through all the crazy homestudy and agency can be very affordable. Our son cost almost $40k (5 cycles and a m/c in between).... our embryo adoption topped out at $6.5k and worked on the first try. I hope all these comments help you and Will come to a decision. Your friends are extremely generous to offer you their embryos. I think had we had extra and our family was complete, I would have done the same.

    Good luck...I am available anytime if you want more info or perspective on Embryo adoption.


  69. Hi Mo,

    Overall, my experience with adopted embryos has been amazing. We have chosen an open adoption because we thought it would be best for all of the children involved.

    Unfortunately, I am experiencing a loss right now, as I type. So, obviously, the risks of miscarriage are the same as they are for any other pregnancy and that is the shittiest of shitty parts of it all.

    When I am ready, I will try again. Please don't let my experience deter you. This sounds like an amazing opportunity for you. If you want to visit my blog, I have a bunch of embryo adoption/donation blogs linked on my home page. You might want to scroll through my two latest posts though. Sad, sad, sad. But, I know you understand.


  70. I'm not in your shoes at all so have no useful perspective for youI'm afraid but I'm a long time reader and just wanted to offer you support. Sounds like an amazing offer. I guess I'd be slightly nervous about the "known" element too as some commenters have said, but I can see the possibility of getting your own baby and getting to carry, birth and nurse the baby may well outweigh this. Wishing you luck, peace and strength.

  71. So apparently my email doesn't come through- its clovers 5 leaves at gmail dot com. Or Alexicographer knows how to reach me. Good luck! (I'm the one with 3 kids via donor embryo and know the donors- tried 5 times w/ 4 different donors.)

  72. Before our last ditch try at IVF-turned-IUI that shockingly succeeded where we'd failed so many times before, I was considering embryo adoption. I don't know why, I felt better about it than DE or regular adoption. It just felt like the right choice to both hubby and me. And, had I succeeded at embryo adoption and had a baby, I would've wanted to try again with our eggs, too. I've read in so many different places that pregnancy can sometimes 'rejuvenate' the uterus and women who could not get pregnant before will be able to. I would've wanted to at least try.

  73. Before our last ditch try at IVF-turned-IUI that shockingly succeeded where we'd failed so many times before, I was considering embryo adoption. I don't know why, I felt better about it than DE or regular adoption. It just felt like the right choice to both hubby and me. And, had I succeeded at embryo adoption and had a baby, I would've wanted to try again with our eggs, too. I've read in so many different places that pregnancy can sometimes 'rejuvenate' the uterus and women who could not get pregnant before will be able to. I would've wanted to at least try.

  74. Just wanted to give a little advice on this, as an adoptive mother. If your child doesn't look like you, people are going to make comments. I don't know if people just like stirring things up, but prepare yourself for this. That is the first thing you will encounter. As for adopting an embryo or adopting at birth, I think there are some positives to both. Certainly being able to carry and give birth to your child starts the bonding experience immediately, which is so important. It was uncertain whether I could carry a pregnancy, so I did not want to risk losing any more babies. That is something to think about as well. There are no easy answers. My daughter is only 2 so she is yet to understand, but I know she will eventually want to know who she is biologically related to and I am so glad I will be able to give her that information. I've read so much about that incompleteness of adoptees that I am glad my daughter will be able to know what she wants to know. Sorry to go on and on and I've hope that I didn't confuse you any more. Good luck to you.

  75. I've been following these comments all week - such an interesting range of experiences and opinions! Not much to add, just that as another adoptive mother - the love is certainly all there. But one of the things I find hardest is when people are talking about my kids, or to my kids, and I have to judge - at what point do I say 'hmmmm, yes, he IS cute but no they AREN'T my eyes'. Or 'no, he's not going to inherit my heart problem'. Or whatever. I know that sounds trivial, but it doesn't always feel trivial. And some of those conversations, for me, are when I have to say 'hmmmm, no, I didn't actually give birth but thanks for asking for my labor story' and others are about genetics. If you adopt an embryo rather than a baby, you get a pass on those first ones. But the second don't go anywhere, and I think that you're right that the embryo donation paradigm is quite a lot more complex (in a way) than for a standard adoption. People do'nt always have a hook to hang the information on. So your confusing conversations might be less frequent, but even more confusing!

  76. I say it's a fabulous gift. I have been mulling over the idea of using donated embryos for over a year, and now Im doing it. After many years of infertility and 5 pregnancy losses, this is my last ditch attempt. I cant afford donor eggs or domestic adoption. Feel free to email if you have any questions about the program/ clinic I am using or my thoughts on the subject now that Im gearing up for a cycle in April. I have an anonymously donated "batch" of 7 embryos, created using the male partners sperm, and 21 year old donor eggs.

  77. Fabulous post and amazing comments from a wonderful community. What a beautiful, lovely offer for your friends to give you - they are angels!!

    I have a son via a Thai donor egg and as both my husband and I are caucasian, there are always questions about his genetics. At first this disturbed me but through counselling, I found that it wasn't that I was worried that people wouldn't think that he was my son but that I had not fully grieved the 5 unsuccessful IVF cycles that I had had previously.

    I think that it is wonderful that you are asking questions and getting peoples opinions. It might also be worth your time to see a qualified counsellor who can help you work through any issues that you have that come up (if any).

    There is not a day that I regret using DE's to have our son, there are no words for how much I love him - I am sure that you would feel the same way regardless of how the child came into your life.

  78. This is a great discussion. It's such a personal decision! I considered embryo donation, but it didn't go far for me. Because I had such a horrible experience with pregnancy, I would rather adopt and skip the whole pregnancy experience. It's not important to me anymore to be pregnant and give birth. I'm done with romanticizing that whole thing, because my body and mind just don't seem to like being pregnant. But my husband wants to have a genetic connection. So, if and when we ever do donor eggs, it will be with my niece who has agreed to be our donor. I can't say that my sister, her mom, is supportive. But for me, if I'm going to go through pregnancy again, I want there to be a genetic connection to me too, or I worry that I'll be carrying someone else's baby.

    Otherwise, I know that a genetic connection is not important for me to bond with a child. I have two stepsons and would love them like my own if they didn't have a mother. We have a really great relationship.

    And maybe I could go through pregnancy with an embryo that had no genetic connection with me, but I'm not willing to do it and neither is my husband, so it's off the table. The kicker is we don't have money to do donor eggs, so maybe it will never happen. But what I have learned is that it needs to be the right decision for both my husband and I in how we have a child, or it's not going to happen.

  79. That is great that you have this new option! I disagree with posters who say embryo adoption is exactly the same as adopting a baby; it is different because you will get to experience a pregnancy and all that goes with it, if this is a stage you have been looking forward to, then that could make a big difference to you. Good luck deciding.

  80. Hi Mo, I really have nothing to offer on the donor embryo thing because I have not really been exposed to that area yet.

    Your friend has made a generous offer. One thing (and please please please pardon me if I am crossing a line here) is that if she is giving it to you from the batch she had, wouldn't her children and yours be brothers/sisters? I think that could complicate the situation a little bit.

    Well, in decisions like these, I think your decision making style is best - considering everything seriously before doing anything.

    Good Luck.

  81. We had eight miscarriages before we had our successful to term pregnancy.I can't tell you what it feels like to use donor eggs/sperm/embryo, but I can tell you what it feels like to be pregnant and carry a child, to deliver, to be a mom. It feels amazing and worth everything. I know it complicates things to a degree I am not personally aware of. But I don't really think it matters, because when a baby (YOUR baby) is put in your arms, you won't care. You will thank God for whatever circumstances and sturggles put that sweet child there.

  82. I know its a little different for everyone and I can only speak for myself.

    I have the two most amazing boys via donor eggs. They will know, as time goes on at each age appropriate stage about their conception. (Since I also used donor sperm and am doing this as a single mom, the discussion would come up in one way or another)

    I "know" that we dont have a biological link but no one in the world cant tell me these arent my boys. I honestly dont think I'd feel any different if it were my own eggs. I carried them in me for almost 8 months. I worried with every symptom or lack of symptom. I felt their kicks for the first time inside me. I gave birth to them. They are my kids.
    If I werent already 44 (and still single), I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

  83. My donor baby is 2 1/2. I had two failed medicated IUIs and two failed IVFs before moving on to donor embryos. And now that I have my boy, I am convinced that God was holding the perfect baby in reserve for me. I absolutely cannot imagine loving any child more ... in fact, I love mine so much sometimes I think my heart may explode. Did I always know it was going to be this way? No. I had many of the same fears as you. I worried that we wouldn't bond. I worried what people might think. All of those worries were for naught. I have a mamma's boy in the best possible sense. He is completely egocentric in the way that all small children are, but he clearly wants me right next to him in the center of his universe. And not one person has questioned my decision to start a family this way, and I'm a single mom, so that's saying something. (Caveat: I am confident in my choices and have not taken any straw polls regarding folks' opinions. There may be those who disapprove of my decision, but if so they have had the good sense to keep those opinions to themselves.)

    Having said all this, I still have concerns as my child gets older. Will he feel the loss of a biological family he never knew? I hope not. It's not like he was left at the train station like Paddington Bear. A family made the decision to give away not a baby, but the potential for a baby. I'm already laying the foundation for my explanation. At night, we say prayers thanking God for the people who gave me my baby seed. And this summer or next, we'll plant seeds and watch them grow in a pot and talk about how things in life can start very very small, but grow very big. It's a start.

    Good luck with your journey.


  84. P.S. It's Kathryn again. I just had a chance to read the other comments. (My boy is napping ... my personal time will be ending soon!) I wanted to add two other points:

    1. Your friends are offering you an incredible gift. But you are also providing them an incredible opportunity. They are clearly done with their family and facing the conundrum of what to do with the other embryos. It's a huge dilemma and I am really happy it's one I never had to face. They obviously believe you will make excellent parents, and if you do take the embryos, you will provide a solution to what can be an ethical quagmire.

    2. There are some serious silver linings to donor babies. The fact that my child is NOT genetically related means that I don't have to look for my grandmother's personality traits to be handed down to another generation. (I often say she's living proof that only the good die young. I love her in my own way, but she's a cross the entire family must bear!) You get the picture ... surely there are some traits you just as soon not see. My baby was the result of an egg donor who is my exact ethnicity and coloring. But she is taller and thinner. Bonus!!!

  85. I am a lesbian who used my own eggs and donor sperm and our second IVF worked. My partner is not biologically related to the child but neither of us can imagine her loving our son any more than she does. I would have gone to ANY length to become a parent and it is clear to me now that I would have loved and bonded with any baby but certainly any baby I carried in my body. And that includes that fact that while I loved my son since birth, I didn't feel that overwhelming in love feeling the minute he came out. I think I was a little overwhelmed in fact by how much he cried and how intense labor was. But again and again I fall deeply, madly crazily in love with him at every stage. I'm sure it will be the same for you with any baby who is yours. However, I think there are issues that can arise for the child and it is worth putting some thought into it. Our son can get his donor's name at 18 and we have pictures of him. It is possible that won't feel like enough and he'll have a sense of loss about that. It was critical to us that we use an open donor to try to give him as much information as possible IF HE WANTS IT. Is the donor your friends used an open donor? If not, this may be an area of sadness or difficulty for the children (I think it is for some and isn't for others.) As far as that goes, having biological "siblings" out there will probably be a very cool thing for them. As for you knowing them, that can work wonderfully as long as you feel comfortable talking with them about all possible outcomes and feelings that could arise (ie would there be tension if you did "cry it out" and they didn't approve or whatever you can think of...) I think it will be better for the children to know the other family - as long as it is not a stress filled relationship. The other thing that occurs to me is that I, like you, would probably have the thought that if it worked I would want to try with my own eggs but that is a thought that is very very much about YOU (nothing wrong with that, having kids is about US and our desires after all) but after you have a child, it begins to be more about them. And while any sibling is better than no sibling, I think that it would be better for the child to have a full bio sibling if possible. That way there is no sense they are the odd person out. If that isn't POSSIBLE of course you should do whatever you can do but if you use donor embryos to make a first baby, in my opinion, it would be better to have a second child who also came from donor embryo. It normalizes the situation for both and gives each another person who really, really gets where they came from on all levels. This is what I would want to do for my child in this situation. So that being the case, I would consider first going a little deeper into your feelings about using your own embryos and seeing if there is some way to try more with them first. Or commit to having at least THREE children and then try with your own for the third. If the third is your own genetic child I think it is okay to be the only one. JUST MY OPINION - ZERO JUDGMENT. I'm sorry for the rushed writing.

  86. Just checking in to let you know that I'm thinking about you and I hope that all is well. I am sure that you will make the best choice for you and Will- and we will all be here cheering for you.

  87. I just wanted to say good luck with your decision and I'm glad you have this an option to consider.

    Still cheering you on!

  88. p.s. what an amazing gift from your friend. she obviously cares very much about you-- and you deserve this.

  89. What a wonderful gift!

    I think as with any donor gametes or's your call as to who you share your story with.

    Our daughter was conceived via donor sperm...which most people don't know, but as for our parents and siblings (who know) none of them feel any different about her than if she was biologically related to any of them.

  90. You raise an interesting question. I've seen blogs on many topics regarding infertility but rarely is this covered. It is a unique situation and even more so since you know the family. With the challenges constantly faced during this process it is difficult not to deeply think about this type of decision. I would just say that everything happens for a reason and the fact that they have even offered is generous and seems like a good decision. It's a hard decision and we're excited to see your thoughts as they develop. Keep us posted.

  91. Dear Mo,
    I couldn't find an email option on your site so I will just say it here.
    I just read your blogs. All of them. My heart breaks for you. And my heart breaks for me. I survived Hodgkin's Disease ten years ago almost exactly, and my husband and I have started undergoing tests to determine possible damage. So far, it has been an incredibly terrifying experience and we haven't even started TTC yet.
    I just wanted you to know that I am absolutely, positively and completely rooting for you, thinking of you and sending little positive thoughts your way. Hang in there, lady.
    If you want to read about my experience so far, you can check out:

    -Mrs. M

  92. I just wanted you to know that my husband and I have a daughter by embryo adoption, and this has been the best experience of my life. I cannot imagine life without her, and feel that my love for her is equal if not more than if she were genetically related to us. I think of her as my daughter, and don't think of her as anything else.

    Our adoption was anonymous. I wish she could know her siblings (she has twin siblings). Maybe in the future, we may have access to this information.

    We did enlist a lawyer, mainly because I wanted to feel that there were no loose ends. It did feel strange to have to think that way, though. Once it was done, however, I was happy we had done it. I would have regretted not doing it. It is controversial though with different rules in different states.

    Wishing you easier times, and peace of mind.

  93. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  94. I was just a delivery coach for my long time friend as she delivered her first daughter (finally achieved through embryo adoption). It was incredible! Thank for this post!

  95. I see that many of you were trying to make some serious decisions going back to 2011. Can I ask for an update? I am about to turn 47 (my husband the same), my husband and I accepted years ago we could not conceive (we both had issues, my eggs were old and he has a genetic disorder so he has no sperm). A friend just offered us her embryo's - 11 of them. They are from donor eggs and her husbands sperm. Her husband and my husband have been friends for 20+ years. She and I have been friends for 10 years. This child would be the sibling of one of her children. I am having strong emotions that I thought were gone. My husband does not seem comfortable with "having his friends child". All this happened last night and I can't think of anything else. He is worried about our age and the relationship with our friends. We see them a few times a year and are not as close as we used to be when they lived closer to us, but we do have a strong bond with them now. I would love to hear how things turned out for all of you. Thank you! xo

  96. Hi Anonymous,

    I'm sorry that you're faced with these tough decisions on how to start your family. We ultimately were able to have a genetically related daughter through IVF in 2012. I would advise not making any quick decisions and allowing yourself and your husband to process this generous offer from your friends. We found it helpful to talk to a psychologist for a consult who was an expert in third-party reproduction when we were considering known donor eggs/embryos. It really helped us think through the implications of that and determine which types of situations could work for us as a couple. As i said, we ended up getting super lucky and not needing to go that route. It is wonderful that so many options exist to help us create our families, but you will need to have many discussions with your husband over time about what feels right for each of you.



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