It is so interesting that the process of embryo donation touches tender bones and makes me cry at so many levels. However, it does. It is truly quite shocking to me that it makes me cry at all.
So you might ask, what’s up Lis, why all the tears? Here is a plausible explanation. In my case, on the day of the embryo transfer, I had 4 embryos available. All four were from the same egg donor and two were from the younger father (21 at the time of donation) and two were from the older father (30 at the time of donation).
The fellows at La Jolla IVF said, “These are gorgeous embryos! All four of them are gorgeous, which do you want us to use?” I recalled a comment an embryologist said to me once which was, “Youth trumps all in this business,” and with that thought in my head, I said without a moment’s hesitation, “Go with the younger sperm donor.” That was a critical decision in the development of my darling young sons. That was also the moment I turned my back on the other embryos. I quite literally left them behind. I didn’t hurt them, but I didn’t help them. I let them sit suspended in an airtight tank.
It is not something I did casually. It is something I did out of necessity. I just couldn’t handle more than two children being an older, single mom. Trust me when I go dress shopping, if I can’t decide, I just buy them all. Anyone who knows me well can attest to this. But here, I couldn’t take all the babies. I don’t have the resources. Perhaps it haunts me more than it haunts others, given that I am one of six children and I know how a busy household functions. Despite those experiences, I just couldn’t.
A year or so after Jarvie and Giles were born, my mom said, “Are you going to try for a girl?” At the time, I just said, “No Mom, I am pretty sure I have my hands full.” That was clearly a true statement. But now I realize that my little girl maybe frozen right now, and waiting for her turn to be born. Let me tell you that thought horrifies me. It is the what ifs that haunt you.
I am so grateful to have found a friend who wants my embryos and to give both of them a chance at life. The chance is only 33%, because they are frozen embryos. But it’s still a chance, and it’s an opportunity for my friend to try to have a sibling for her little boy and and the second baby that she has so desperately been desiring to round out her family.
She plans, just as I did, to implant both embryos. She has considered what life would be like in the event that both embryos implant and become viable. She hopes to celebrate the miracle of life whether accepting a singleton or twins into her family.
This is the back end of surrogacy and a piece that needs to be taken care of. I tried to attend to this piece earlier on, but was unsuccessful finding someone who wanted to adopt my embryos. It was truly as it should be. Now I am adopting them out to a friend and not simply a deserving intended parent who is a stranger.
I am for openness as much as possible in these arrangements. I think it leads to the best results for the children involved. Should the implantation lead to a pregnancy which sticks and a live birth or two, my boys, Jarvie and Giles, will be his/her/their diblings (donor siblings). We will then make attempts at involving the children with one another, even if we live in separate states as is the current plan.
Furthermore, we hope to include the egg donor, who has a wedding planned in the not too distant future (congatulations to the lovely couple!) as much as she and her family want to be included in gatherings with the children. The egg donor lives abroad, so gatherings may be few and far between, but might be nice for everyone involved a few times over the years.
I guess the point is, if the adults consent, then the children have a lot to gain from meeting and getting to know each other as distant relatives or extended family members.
So what do you think about them apples? I really would love to hear what you think about this and how you size it all up. Perhaps you have thoughts about this that I didn’t even entertain. I would love to know what those thoughts are, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written In My Little Brick In University Heights, Ohio