Wednesday, January 3, 2007


As mentioned in an earlier article, we had received a flood of requests for our embryos within just a few weeks of listing them with We had specified we would donate only to a lesbian couple since lesbians face discrimination from adoption agencies, fertility clinics and genetic parents.

There was one thing that all of the lesbians contacting us had in common. They all had one child. Their inability to have another child reflected secondary infertility, or infertility of the partner who was parenting but had not yet given birth herself. At least one of the partners in each couple had already carried a child to term. But with only one child, these women felt their families were not yet complete.

Each couple wanted exactly one more child. We have three frozen embryos. Our clinic has the best success rate in the country with frozen embryo transfer. Fully 65% of frozen embryo transfers at our clinic end in pregnancy. Their successful thaw rate per embryos is an impressive 95%.

Chances are excellent that one of our three embryos will develop into a child. It's statistically probable that two of them could become children. And you never know, lightning could strike three times.

But all the women contacting us only want one baby. So if they have a child using one or two of our embryos they will have no use for the remaining embryo(s). Since any unused embryos usually revert back to the donor, we would have to go through the entire donation process all over again with a new family. And potentially have on-going contact with two families instead of one. This did not appeal to us. The fact that these women all wanted only one additional child was not a plus.

One heterosexual couple had written to us saying that she and her husband had five children. They wanted a sixth but their youngest son had autism. Since that condition has now been found to have a strong genetic component, this couple had made the admirable decision not to give birth to another child who might also have this problem. I respected that their family did not seem complete to them, but the fact that they already had five children when couples with none were writing to us affected the direction we took next.

Donating our embryos is the greatest gift we will ever give someone, unless we donate an organ to a person who faces death without it. That gift will be far more meaningful if we help a childless couple start a family versus allowing existing parents to complete their family.

Most women with no children would welcome either one or two children. That means if we found a couple with no children we could make our donation just once. If a childless couple had two children from our embryos they would be happy about it. If these three embryos beat the odds and turned into three babies it might be too many for a couple who already had a child but for a childless couple it could be just the right number.

We resolved to wait for a couple whose diagnosis was primary infertility, not secondary infertility. In other words, we decided to try to donate to a couple who did not already have a child. As additional requests came in from lesbian couples we offered to retain their contact info while explaining our preference to them for a childless couple. And we waited to see if our perfect recipients would come along.

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