Please advise! *WARNING: long & topic may be slightly disturbing to some*

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  1. I am posting this here although it may actually belong either in "Pregnancy and Parenting" or in "General", so mods please move this if it belongs elsewhere on the forum.

    My husband and I got pregnant using IVF. Since the reason for my infertility was "mechanical" in nature (blocked Fallopian Tubes) I responded extremely well to the ovarian stimulation, produced a high number of follicles and, in the end, yielded a good number of fertilized embryos. The embryo transfer resulted in a triplet pregnancy and a successful twin delivery at 37 weeks gestation.

    The remaining 5 embryos were graded A (3) and B (2) at 5 days old and frozen.

    I was 28 years old at the time of the stimulation and follicle retrieval; I am 29 now. Neither of my children tested positive for Down's syndrome and there is little statistical reason to suspect that (given my age) the remaining fertlized eggs would be at high risk for genetic defects. It's entirely possible but not very likely.

    As a couple, my husband and I may well want another child in a couple of years, however, I have decided that I'll undergo laparoscopic surgery and attempt to remove the scarred tissue from my Fallopian tubes before trying to get pregnant again. This is because I feel that the nature of the pregnancy (IVF) and the fact that so much was at stake (financially, for instance) really affected the overall quality of my pregnancy. I spent --as I described elsewhere in this forum-- 37 weeks terrified that something would happen and I'd never have children.

    Now that I do, I'd rather attempt to fix the mechanical problem of the blocked Fallopian tubes and try to get pregnant naturally than undergo another round of chemical stimulation, another transfer and another 14 weeks of daily progesterone injections. If I do get pregnant naturally following the laparoscopic surgery, great. If not, oh well. We have 2 already (so zero population growth :tup:) and one of each, so no big tragedy if the twins are our only ones.

    So, now the questions:

    1). What to do with the remaining embryos? The options are: thaw and let die, donate to science (which would ultimately lead to destruction as well) or donate to an infertile couple in what is known as an embryo adoption. This would all be arranged by our clinic (where the embryos currently are) and --it really goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway-- would not offer any financial gain to my husband and I. So what would YOU do?

    2). If you couldn't have children would you ever consider carrying someone else's biological child? Why not adopt then? Adoption does, after all, mean that you would be raising a child that is not biologically yours but is already here and a part of this [over-populated] world. Besides, you would not be putting your body through pregnancy. So, would you ever consider embryo adoption or does the very notion make you uneasy?

    TIA for your thoughs!
     
  2. I think you have great intentions on donating your embryos to infertile couples. I would not hesitate if everything matches medically and I am physically able to house the embryos.

    I love kids, so it does not matter they're mine or not. Adoption is an option for us too.

    Congrats on your twins! So, one boy and one girl? How perfect! :love:
     
  3. Some women would need an embryo to adopt if they have had chemo or radiation. A friend of mine is going through chemo right now and they had to freeze her embryo's prior to treatment. If they hadn't had the forthought to do so, she would need donor eggs, and still might if they aren't viable when she is finished with treatment and cancer free. Also, at least the child can be biologically his.

    I am all about donating to science, it is amazing the advances in the area of stem cell research. They can grow a human heart!! Imagine of all the lives they could save.
     
  4. Oh, emma, that's a tough one. I think would be great to go the embryo donation route. I know some people would be very appreciative and open to that. What a beautiful gift to give...
     
  5. Thanks to everyone that took the time to read and respond to this.

    Tabby-- You're right; a situation like that of your friend could perhaps benefit from an embryo adoption. Short of that, however, it's hard for me to see why a woman would want to gestate a child that she is in no way related to when she can instead adopt. I understand why donor eggs fertilized by the husband of said woman resulting in a baby she gestates might be compelling, but that's very different because, in that situation, she is carrying her husband's child.

    Lots to think about...
     

  6. It may be hard to understand if we look at this from a purely biological standpoint, but I dare say from the grateful recipient's point of view this precious gift goes so much deeper than biology and genetics.
    I would not hesitate to donate the embryos to an infertile couple.
    Congratulations on the arrival of your adorable babies.:flowers:
     
  7. ^^Completely valid point...

    I may be over-simplifying matters a bit with my insistence on biology. Thanks for suggesting a broader perspective!
     
  8. My BFF was diagnosed with cervical cancer at 29 and fertilized and froze the last of her eggs before she was given a hysterectomy at the age of 29!! She is in menopause and will never be able to give birth.
    When she was cancer free they began to look into surrogates, a process that took many months and much, much money. They found the perfect surrogate for them, and when the surrogate arrived for IVF, the eggs were thawed and the eggs were found to not be viable for implantation. The embryos did not survive the thawing process.My bff lost all the money invested in the ivf and surrogate up to that point but even worse had to deal with the fact that she would NEVER meet her own biological children. Her embryos were dead, so was the dream of having her own children. Sorry for the harshness, but that is her reality.
    I say this story because for her- the choices are adoption, egg donation or embryo adoption.
    I think embryo adoption would be a WONDERFUL thing to do.. I had considered donating my eggs should she had ever asked, although I don't think she will. It was too trying mentally and money wise to go through the surrogate process again.
    Right now they are looking to adopt. But who knows what she will decide in the future.
    I think there are too many couples who are so unfortunate and cannot have their own biological children. My friend's story is tragic in many ways. Donating your embryos is the ULTIMATE GIFT. To the future parents and the future baby, but that's just my opinion and it hits very close to home for me!
    Sorry I didn't mean to ramble, but I had to explain why I felt this way..
     
  9. ^^^ Oh Chodessa what an impossibly sad situation.
    I teared up reading your post and my heart really ached for your friend and all the hardship of her illness and lost dreams... all that at 29. I'm her age, too, and I don't know how (read if) I could have coped with such a set of adverse circumstances. Of course there is some attrition inherent to the process of freezing and thawing out embryos, but what bad luck to lose all of them! I so admire people who can soldier on with such strength and determination...
    And how sweet and generous of you to even consider donating your eggs...
     
  10. chodessa - my heart is breaking for your friend's story. I can't imagine the mental and financial stress. I too am struggling with the biology of it all. So emma - I think it's a really a thought provoking question you ask when you are asking if the notion of embryo donation makes one uneasy. It's a really good question that makes me think about so much.

    If you had asked me years ago a hypothetical question if I would adopt an embryo, or accept donated eggs, I would probably have said yes, right away.

    Now, I'm faced with my last doctor not considering me for IVF unless I did egg donation, I find myself hesitant. I don't know if I would be willing to do that or embryo adoption at this point. Although, I do feel that people who would donate their eggs / embryos are truly generous to give another person / couple the wonderful gift of a child. I am still grieving over the fact that DH and I have been unable to naturally conceive. I am grieving over the fact that they give me a 60% chance of having a baby with someone else's eggs and DH's sperm but only 10% chance on my own eggs. Our insurance will probably pay for about 50% of the next IVF that I do. Do I go for the better odds and get an egg donor? Or do I still hold on to hope that 10% (at best) with my own eggs? I go through so many emotions, like why is this happening to us? Why did I think it was just an automatic right for me to bear our children. DH and I have so much love for each other and this has been such a struggle for 4 years now. I have this fairy tale in my head that love will give us this baby. It was hard at first to do all these "unnatural" procedures" to have a baby. I actually cried at my first IUI. I thought to myself, this isn't how it's supposed to be. I'm not supposed to be making a baby with 3 people in the room. I'm lying in a doctor's office, with that stupid paper crinkling under me and 3 people looking into my crotch. The next few rounds it did get easier and then I was ok by IVF but still. It's hard like you think so many thoughts.

    Sorry...Getting way OT and too emotional.

    Anyway emma - congratulations again on your beautiful children. I would support you on any decision you make.
     
  11. oh - and I just want to say emma, beejerry, tabbyco - Thanks for being so supportive. TTC is just so heartwrenching and your PMs have been so encouraging to me. I have been at some very low points at times and when I see your pms, it gives me strength and I really feel something. My friends have been ok but really don't know what it's like, but you know my struggles and have been through some of the same processes. You truly know and I find inspiration in your encouraging words... When I read your pms, I can pick myself up again and know it's going to be ok. :heart: love u ladies!
     
  12. First of all, big congrats on your two healthy children :yahoo:.

    1) If it were me, I would donate the embryos to an adoptive/host family.

    2) If I couldn't have my own child, I think I would at least want to experience the nine months of having them growing inside me to become even closer to them and feel even more like they were my own.

    Some people might not want others to know the child was adopted, or let the child know for that matter, and actually giving birth to the baby solves alot of problems suddenly having a baby pop up would incur. (This is assuming I have the whole notion correct and they would be implanted with the embryo and later give birth to it).

    You should definitely do what feels right to you, and I certainly don't have an ethical standpoint on this, but I am sure there are families out there who would love to have your embryo and who would give the child a wonderful life. It seems like it would be win-win for all involved so long as you wouldn't have a problem knowing that a child with your DNA was out there somewhere and you might never meet them.
     
  13. I agree here about what Echo said and donating to a family in need. I could not have said it better.
     
  14. Wow, you are asking some very tough questions that definitely get right at people's spiritual, religious, and ethical beliefs. Assisted reproductive technology definitely opens up a lot of complicated ethical questions, doesn't it? We have done IVF (3 times) and had (and have) frozen embryos. I will say up-front that the issue of having frozen embryos was something that was a big deal for us, and something that we discussed a lot prior to starting the first cycle. We both felt strongly that as long as we were physically capable, we would be committed to giving any frozen embryos we created a shot. I'm not saying that's right or wrong for anyone else, but it was what we personally needed to agree on in order to be comfortable going through all this.

    From my experience, I would also say that doing a frozen embryo transfer doesn't at all compare to an IVF in terms of difficulty. We have done this once ourselves. It's much cheaper than a full IVF, there's no ovarian stimulation so you don't feel as bad, and there's no egg retrieval. You do still have to take progesterone supplementation, but a lot of clinics are moving away from the shots. Our clinic doesn't use the shots anymore (although we did shots with this last cycle out of sheer superstition, since that's what worked for us before, but I will emphasize that was based on our own neurosis).

    Statistically, you do have a good chance of achieving a pregnancy with your frozen embryos, since they came from a successful cycle. It also helps that they came from 28 year old eggs.

    Emotionally, though, it is still a nerve-wracking process. For me, I think one thing infertility has done has taken away the possibility of ever having a truly carefree pregnancy. I will never be a person who just gets a positive on a home pregnancy test and starts picking out nursery furniture. I know what you're saying about feeling afraid the whole pregnancy. Our first IVF resulted in a twin pregnancy, but we lost one twin at 12 weeks (the other is our amazing 3 year old daughter). That really freaked me out, since I thought we should have been pretty safe at that point, and I don't think I really got over the worry until very late in the pregnancy. We later did a frozen transfer, but had a miscarriage at 8 1/2 weeks (never saw a heartbeat). We then tried a lap to clear out the endometriosis blocking everything in there, but although they did clear up a lot of the scarring, we did not get pregnant after that. Our second IVF did not work. I am currently pregnant after our third IVF. I think even if I were to miraculously get pregnant naturally at some point after all this (which is highly unlikely), I would still be a wreck, especially early on.

    As for the issue of embryo adoption, we haven't personally been to the point of needing to consider something like that. We are also currently in the process of adopting from China, so obviously we are okay with having a child not biologically related to us. I think embryo adoption can be a wonderful thing in that it does offer someone the chance to experience pregnancy and birth who couldn't otherwise. It's not something we opted for, but I don't think it's for me to say if others should just adopt a baby instead. Certainly adoption is a wonderful thing and is much needed, but having been lucky enough to have been pregnant myself, I don't think I can say how someone else should feel about giving up that experience. To me, it's sort of akin to the question a lot of infertile women get asked - "Why don't you just adopt?" Well, anyone calling it "just" adopting is vastly oversimplifying adoption. Adoption is a complicated, difficult process in entirely different ways from going through infertility treatment. Biology is part of it, but only a part of it. There are so many other things to think about. We decided it was something we wanted to do, but that was after a lot of soul-searching and educating ourselves about it. It's not the simple alternative people sometimes make it out to be.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on your questions. I hope I don't offend anyone with any of this. This is just my perspective, and obviously there are many, many ways of looking at it.
     
  15. Sarah - this is so true! I have had a few people, (who are well meaning) say, "Why don't you just adopt?" Or they tell me how pregnancy isn't that big a deal.. It's only 9 months but rearing a child is a lifetime. They tell me how awful their pregnancies were and what horrible things it did to their body. Well, if was so awful, why didn't they just adopt for their 2nd, 3rd or 4th child! I mean, I know they mean well and I would probably say the same things, but I want to have that experience... Ugh..{{{eyes welling up}}} They can say that because they had a choice. I know they are just trying to downplay it so I don't feel so bad, but they say these things and then in the same 5 minutes, they are talking about their pregnancies and babies. And I just have to sit there and nod and smile like I know what they are talking about... So thank you for for acknowledging that the pregnancy experience is a factor for some folks..