We started the journey of embryo adoption in March 2015. When we tell someone that we are doing embryo adoption, most often, the question is “What is that?” It is a most reasonable question, so I hope to answer it a series of blog posts answering the most common questions we are asked.
What is an embryo?
The word “embryo” describes a stage of development. In non-technical language, an embryo is the unborn or unhatched offpsring. In more technical language, the embryo is unborn offspring from the 4th day after fertilization through 8 weeks. During this time, the human baby goes from being a single cell with 1/2 its genetic material from mom and 1/2 from dad to being a fully formed baby with heart, lungs, legs, arms, brain, eyes, ears, nose, mouth. Human babies at 8 weeks of development very much look like a baby that has just been born, though many of their body systems are still immature.
Where do these embryos come from?
During in-vitro fertilization, eggs are harvested from a woman and fertilized with sperm collected from a man. In the United States, several IVF embryos are usually created at once, since the cost is in the fertilizing of the eggs and its not that much more expensive to fertilize many eggs at once (bulk discount of a sort). And since there is no guarantee that any single embryo will implant and gestate to full term, many couples find they need to do multiple transfers to get 1 live birth. A couple might have 1 or 2 embryos transferred immediately and any other embryos will be frozen so that they can be transferred later.
Why do these embryos need to be adopted?
Sometimes, a couple has all the children they want, but have embryos they never transferred. Or, perhaps due to any variety of circumstances, its determined that a woman can’t carry a baby. A couple then has a few options as to what to do with these embryos. They can discard the embryos, donate them to research, leave them frozen indefinitely or donate/make an adoption plan for the embryos. Both discarding the embryos and donating them to research means death to the babies. Some couples don’t want to take those options, so they either continue to pay the storage fees or find another couple who will accept the embryos.
Will you transfer them all at once?
No, we will transfer up to 2 at a time. Yes, this opens up the possibility of twins, but we accept and welcome that possibility.
How many children will you have?
7! Little Man, who is 4, Ananias, who died at about 6 weeks development, and these 5 frozen babies makes 7 children. Why do we talk about it this way? Because the parent-child relationship doesn’t change with death. I will talk more about this in the next blog post.
Any more questions? Please ask! You can email me at the [dot] china [dot] lady @ gmail [dot] com (change all [dot] to periods, and remove spaces) or leave a comment here.