I absolutely love this story. I remember first asking if anyone would be interested in a What Its Like series like this, and I heard quickly from Laura, who said she’d love to share what it’s like to adopt an embryo. Minutes later I heard from Summer, who said she’d love to share what it’s like to donate an embryo. I remember after just a few minutes of conversation, realizing that Summer’s family had donated and embryo to Laura’s family! This unique inside look at what it’s like to be in their own shoes is below and I an so grateful for their willingness to share with us today! Happy Reading friends!
Hi, I’m Laura. I’ve been married to my husband, Rob, for almost six years. We live in Ohio, have two dogs, and battled male factor infertility. After doing one round of IVF with a total of 4 embryos transferred and only one pregnancy (which resulted in a miscarriage), we decided to pursue embryo donation/adoption (EDA).
When we officially decided to move forward with EDA I was SO excited. I researched all the different avenues to “adopt” embryos. (“Adoption” is not technically the correct term; it is donation, but “adoption” just flows better.) My husband and I decided to try our luck at matching with another family ourselves before we looked into more expensive agency/clinic type options. At the time I was writing a blog and pretty active on Instagram in the infertility community, so I posted to my followers that I was looking for donated embryos. I’m so glad I did!
In June of 2016 I began getting to know the woman who would change my life. She commented on my post to ask if I was looking for an open or closed relationship with the donors and honestly, the rest is history. We began to text all day, every day. We got to know each other and came to agree that it seemed like a perfect fit. In August of 2016, our donors signed the paperwork and my husband and I became the proud parents of six frozen babies living in a freezer across the country.
We began to prepare for a frozen embryo transfer. One of the requirements along the journey was that we had to have an appointment with a counselor who was well versed in these types of arrangements/adoptions/etc. Before our phone meeting with her, I was excited and ready to parent a baby whom I had adopted. I was excited to be able to experience pregnancy and I was confident in the role I would play in their development and the chance that I could still pass on some of my traits and genetics (search epigenetics!). This lady seriously popped my bubble and I became depressed and deflated and honestly, it took me a long time to get over that conversation. Despite the hurt and sadness that came with the conversation, I’m glad we had that phone call. I think the counselor really opened my eyes to some of the challenges we may face. My only regret is that we hadn’t done the appointment earlier.
We moved forward because even though I was more nervous about EDA, I knew it was still the right path for us. The whole IVF process up until the actual transfer of embryos was too much for me to emotionally handle again. The problem was that with time, memories fade, and I did start to regret not trying again. I constantly had to remind myself of the reasons I did not want to do IVF again.
In November of 2016 we flew to Phoenix to meet our donors and transfer two of our embryos. The transfer went well and I found out I was pregnant the day after Thanksgiving. The initial emotions/beginning of pregnancy were rough; I continued to worry if I had made the right decision and felt emotionally disconnected from my sweet baby. However, when we found out we were having a boy, everything started to change. Everything felt more real, he had a name, we started decorating his room and he became mine. He was the first boy – our donors have all girls, and that was so exciting to me!
In August of 2017 we welcomed our sweet baby boy into this world and I honestly sometimes forget that he isn’t genetically mine. He is perfect in every way and I can’t imagine life without him. I’m so thankful for infertility, for my losses, that IVF didn’t work for me, that I found my donor, and that my son is the embryo that stuck. He is better than anything I could have ever imagined and everything we went through to get him here was worth it. One of my favorite Bible verses during our journey to parenthood was Ephesians 3:20 which reads, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according his power that is at work within us.” I can confidently testify to this truth and His goodness.
If you have questions about embryo adoption, feel free to contact me on my Instagram @the_infertilizers.
Hi, I’m Summer! I am the a mama of three young girls, an IVF warrior, and embryo donor…to Laura’s family!
Embryo donation has blessed me in ways I could never put into words, but I’ll try. It has been beautiful. A true gift to everyone involved, and I hope that by sharing our story we can help others to begin theirs.
After a successful round of IVF, which resulted in 12 frozen embryos and our twin pregnancy, my family was complete. (We also have a 4 year old through IUI) About halfway through my pregnancy, a friend I’d followed for some time posted on Instagram about beginning the process of embryo adoption. I messaged her and we chatted about the relationship she’d want with the donor family, and we hit it off right away. It was decided that she would be my “baby mama” as we lovingly joke.
Further into my pregnancy, and past viability for my twins, we signed over rights to our embryos in hopes that their family would grow. When embryo transfer day came around, they traveled to our city and had their transfer. We met up and went to ice cream, got to know each other, and really cemented our friendship during that visit. Just a few days later, they found out that the transfer was a success and they were expecting a beautiful baby boy!
I’ll admit, I was afraid of how I’d feel when I saw a photo of him for the first time. Would I feel the way I felt when my girls were born? Would Laura withdraw from our friendship? But I truly mean it when I say this is a blessed match! I love them like family, and think they’re such great parents. I have no regrets.
If you’re nearing the end of growing your family and have frozen embryos, I urge you to at least read up on embryo donation and see if it might be a fit for you. There are many different types of relationship you can have between donors and recipients, ranging from anonymous all the way to open. For me, there was no more beautiful way to end our infertility journey than by helping another family still walking that path.
I am now documenting my journey to become a doula at @withopenheartsdoula…come join me!
PPS – If you’re ever looking for a devotional on living life while in a waiting season, check out the devotional I co-authored called ‘In the Wait’!
PPPS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cycles, raise a child with special needs, use an egg donor, be a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse, Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriage, suffer with endometriosis. experience depression, start a company, have a micro preemie, lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illness, fund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility, be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer, be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom , be a breastfeeding mother, and have weight loss surgery. Stay tuned for many other amazing topics to come every Tuesday and Friday here!