A long time ago, back when I though I wouldn’t be willing to do IVF, I cam across something called embryo adoption. I didn’t think much of it, and actually completely forgot about it for some time. Then, while I was looking at fertility stuff online, because that is what I do in my spare time, I came across it again. Now that I’m open to IVF and such I looked into it more. And its AWESOME!
Basically you get IVF done, but with someone else’s embryos. You see there are over 500,000 frozen embryos in the US today. Of course not all of these are available to people looking to “adopt” them, but apparently quite a few are. A lot of people have extra embryos when they decide that their family is the right size. They are left with 3 choices. 1) Pay about $400 a year to store them indefinitely. Which adds up pretty fast. Plus you have to basically put the money away in a trust to keep paying for storage after you die. 2) Destroy the embryos. 3) Donate them to scientific experiments. Embryo donation gives them a fourth option. It is a pretty good one too. It doesn’t cost them any money, and they don’t have to destroy the life they worked so hard to make. They can give the embryos a chance at a “real” life and give another couple the best gift ever!
There are two ways of getting donated embryos.
One is embryo adoption. You go through the entire adoption process, including all the “red tape” and a home study. Then the embryos donors choose which family to give their embryos to. This is the expensive way to go about it, as you have to pay agency fees, home study fees, lawyers fees and the frozen embryo transfer (FET) fee. It costs between $6,000 and $17,500.
The affordable option is to just use embryos that are donated to a fertility clinic for other people to use. The donors can stipulate a few criteria the recipients need to meet, such as religion, a two parent family, etc. (which is good, I would NEVER put my embryos up for grabs unless I knew only Christians could use them. I don’t want to help bring children into the world that are not going to be raised to know Jesus). The clinic does its best to match your race, height, coloring, etc. These embryos are great because they are “proven” or have been used before and created one or more live babies. The cost for using donor embryos is only for the FET and the lawyers fee to draw up a custody/parental rights document. FET usually costs no more than $3,000. Which seems like a lot of money until you think about IVF, which starts around $8,000 and goes up to like $20,000. Fresh embryos are more likely to stick, about 45% vs. 30% frozen. But you can afford to do numerous cycles of frozen for the price of one fresh, so I would guess the odds per dollar are in favor of frozen.
I’m pretty stoked about the idea. I have no idea what is wrong with me, so I have no idea if this is a valid option for me, but I think its something great to think about. If IVF turns out to be my only option, donor embryos could make it so that I can experience pregnancy, breastfeeding and childbirth, and not have to make payments on it for the next 20 years. Maybe I can even get more than one child out of it! Plus unlike with fresh IVF I won’t have to decide what to do with my leftover embryos!
There are two foreseeable problems with using donor embryos. One is my husband, who really wants genetic offspring if possible. He suggested donor eggs, because I couldn’t care less if a child is genetically mine, especially if I still get to carry it. I’m “half adopted”, so I don’t see the importance of being genetically related. Donor eggs sound great, but the cost is REALLY crazy. The egg itself will cost about $10,000 on top of the IVF fees. It is legal to sell eggs, but not embryos. He said he thought it was unfair that if we used a donor embryo, it would be “more related” to me, than to him. He also said to leave him alone and not harass him about it everyday and the idea will probably grow on him, like traditional adoption did.
The other problem is, what do you tell the kid? I think I would tell them the truth. I don’t like secrets, and I’d hate for them to think its shameful or something. On the other hand it would be really easy not to tell them. There would be pictures of the pregnancy, the birth, everything. But would it be like lying to them their whole lives? Would you tell them as adults? What would they think? I don’t think I would care, but I’m not everyone…