Wednesday, December 27, 2006

From Yes to No

Many fertility clinics allow those using IVF to donate spare embryos anonymously. It is as easy as ticking a box on one of the dozens of forms most clinics have patients sign. When handed those forms my wife and I liked the idea of helping another family. But the thought that our kids could have several full siblings running around whom we would never know was abhorrant. I would always be curious to know if there were such a child and, if so, did s/he look or act like my own kids do.

Giving away embryos as a knowable donor raises different set of issues. It is not the same as co-parenting. It does not mean we would even necessarily meet the recipients' children from our embryos. But we might. Or a genetic issue might come up with their kids or ours that required more contact over time.

We had agreed to give one of our excess embryos to the first lesbian couple to contact us. But as we got to know them our unease grew. They balked at using our lawyer, even though she is a pioneer in the new field of fertility law. They sent us the name of a random lawyer they found on the internet whose only qualification seemed to be that she charges less than our attorney.

A family member who is a lawyer once told me "the most expensive legal advice is the cheapest". She meant that lawyers who know what they are doing are worth the extra expense.

We had not yet signed the embryos over to the prospective parents and we already felt uncomfortable with them. This was not an auspicious beginning.

It didn't feel right to just turn around and say no after agreeing to give them this gift. Instead we decided to simply stick to our original plan.

We had agreed to certain contract terms and so had the recipients. Now they were trying to change that but we were finished with compromises. They could take the single embryo, on our terms, using our lawyer to prepare the contract or they would get nothing at all.

Our clinic always says "all it takes for us to get you pregnant is one good embryo.". But this recipient, in her mid-40's with multiple failed embryo transfers under her belt, was not an ideal candidate for single-embryo transfer. Hopefully she would realize that and we would be shut of her.

We wrote to the prospective recipients about our decision to go back to plan "A" and waited to see what they would reply.

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