Sunday, February 4, 2007


Now that we had decided to give our embryos to Jenny and Erin we invited them to speak to us on the phone. They admitted to being nervous about this. I could understand that. This was life, actively happening. Nonetheless, they gave us their home and mobile numbers.

To make sure we didn't surprise them, we asked Jenny and Erin for a good time to call them, and that's when we called. They were both very sweet on the phone, and their Southern accents sounded musical to my Northern ears.

We talked to them in detail about every possible medical problem anyone in my family had ever experienced, including dandruff. We wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting into.

At the same time, we covered the basics of what they needed to do for us to sign over the embryos. We had already mentioned most of these things to them and they had said they were open to them, but we wanted to spell it out all at once.

Those requirements were:

1) Use our fertility clinic, since it has the nation's best success rates, and to avoid shipping the fragile embryos.
2) Pay our lawyer to draft the donation contract, as she is a pioneer in fertility law.
3) Tell any children they have that they are genetically Jewish, conceived with donor gametes and have the right, when adults, to meet their egg donor/genetic sibs.
4) Send us a photo, medical update and developmental summary on their kid(s) once a year.
5) Reimburse us for the embryo storage fees.
6) Use the embryos within 10 years.
7) Give back any embryos they do not choose to use.
8) Don't blame us if you don't get pregnant or the kid(s) have problems.

and the biggie:

9) Agree to thaw only one embryo to start. If the embryologist says that one doesn't look viable, thaw a second one, then, if needed, a third. But stop after one viable embryo is produced to reduce the risk of twins or triplets and the huge likelihood of problems from a multiple pregnancy.

We had tried to be as flexible as we could. We did not want to force the recipients to meet capricious demands. But I considered it my responsibility to make sure I did not force a child to endure needless disability due to prematurity or unhappiness from discovering later that they had been lied to about their genetic origins. I also wanted to keep my own children safe by learning about any medical problems that might arise with their genetic siblings. And after spending tens of thousands of dollars to create my own children, I thought it was fair for the recipients to at least pay the fees that allowed the embryos to wait for them in the freezer.

Would the recipients see this as reasonable? We waited to find out.