Tuesday, February 20, 2007


As we continued to wait for the final embryo donation contract I wondered what made Jenny and Erin different from the other embryo recipients who had contacted me. Everyone else wanted our embryos and seemed to view us as an intrusive necessity. I was leery of intruding with these families because the sense I got from them was that ideally we would hand over the embryos and never contact them again.

Because embryo donation is NOT an adoption, people who have children using donated embryos need not worry that the biological parents will try to get "their" children back. Embryo donation is a property transfer, not an adoption. No children exist when embryos are given away and none may ever exist unless the recipients have very good luck.

With their rights fully protected, embryo recipients need not worry about their legal parenthood. The only state that elevates the rights of the genetic parent over that of the birth parent is Nevada. In all other states the person giving birth is the mother.

So the secrecy and coldness I felt from most recipients does not protect them in any way. And it did not spark my interest. I wanted a couple that felt good about themselves to the point that they could give their child permission to know all the factors that shaped her.

I wanted to know why Jenny and Erin seemed so much more self-assured and child-centered than the other recipients who wanted our embryos:

X"I guess to both of us, we want to be able to look that child in the eyes and always be honest. Honesty will include telling them that we did not provide the genetic make up that they have. A known donor will allow us to be honest and also have the resources to answer any questions that they may have that we can't answer.

I did not know my mother's mother. And I strongly believe that many of my characteristics come from her. I think to have a true understanding of who I am, I have to know who she was. To me, it's kind of like therapy of some sort. The mindset of “You can't treat an illness if you do not know the etiology”.

I believe couples feel a stigma for being
infertile. It’s interesting to sit in the lobby at our fertility clinic. The men always seem so nervous and sometimes ashamed. I am just thankful that there’s a clinic to help us. Erin did cry one time because she felt that (in her words) she had “failed”. That of course broke my heart.

I think that most people take fertility for granted. Erin is the picture of health! I think it was devastating to her to find out that the one thing that was wrong with her body was the one thing she wanted so badly. She was, of course, in true Erin style, joking about it a few days later as we were preparing deviled eggs for Thanksgiving dinner, I overcooked them and while we were peeling them big chunks were coming off. They looked kind of sad. I asked Erin if we should cook more and she said of course not, that we would just proclaim this “the year of bad eggs”. So, in good spirits we gladly go forward!"

This positive attitude had attracted me to Jenny and Erin. They were focused on having a child and any children they have will be "theirs" no matter what DNA they have. Secure in this knowledge they do not see a reason to cut their children off from a full picture of where they come from.

I was again buoyed in my feeling that these were the right recipients. I waited impatiently to sign the embryos over to Jenny and Erin so they could get on with their plan to become moms.

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