Tuesday, February 6, 2007


The day after we called Jenny and Erin to tell them we had selected them as our embryo recipients, my wife and I wrote up our suggestions for the donation contract. Would the recipients agree to all the terms, or had we offended them?

I didn't think that any of the terms would be a surprise. We had discussed them all with Jenny and Erin, some in great detail. But chatting about possibilities is different than signing off on a legal contract.

This was their response:

"I'm not sure even how to express the gratitude that we feel. I am sure that "thank you" a million times would not be enough, but I want you to know that we feel honored that you have faith in us regarding the rearing of children from these embryos.

We understand everything that has been discussed thus far, and it has been a comfort knowing that we have a similar vision for the lives of these potential children. That being said, we also know that there are risks involved and that this process (FET) could have the potential to fail at any time. We want you to know that we would do anything possible to ensure that these embryos have the best chance of developing into wonderful, well-adjusted, happy children.

Erin takes very good care of herself and will continue to do so during this whole process...Erin and I have both reviewed this email and the terms you have suggested, and I just want to give you a response on each suggestion individually."

Uh-oh. Which of the individual items didn't work for them? I read on:

"I'm not sure this would have any legal worth but if it would help, you could provide this email to the attorney to show that we are in agreement when adding these stipulations.

1) you need to use these embryos for only one thing: to try to get Erin pregnant.

2) if you don't use all three embryos within 10 years you have to give them back to us. You would not have the right to pick your own recipients for your unused embryos. Only my wife and/or I can assign the embryos to anyone else. COMPLETELY AGREE TO

3) you have to notify us of any child(ren) born from these embryos, their gender (and their first names, so our kids can avoid dating them!)

4) if you get kids from these embryos and the kids have any health problems whatsoever you have no notify us immediately. We have to do the same with our kids who are your kids' genetic siblings COMPLETELY AGREE TO

5) at least once a year you have to provide us with a picture of your child(ren)'s face(s) and an update on their progress COMPLETELY AGREE TO

6) I agree to be a "knowable" donor: your kid(s) have the right to contact me at age 18 if we have not had direct contact before then. I have the responsibility to keep my address current with you or the lawyer to facilitate this

7) you must informing your child(ren) that they were conceived from donor egg and donor sperm and that their donors are of Jewish ancestry and that they have the right to contact me when they turn 18.

8) You may thaw and implant more than one embryo only if the first (and/or second) embryo thawed is considered non-viable by the clinic's embryologist. Once you have one viable embryo you may not thaw any more during that cycle. COMPLETELY AGREE TO

9) my family and I have no responsibility if these embryos are not viable or if your kids have any problems. COMPLETELY AGREE TO."

Oh, they agreed to everything. Specifically and individually. We were in complete agreement. They even sent the web address for the state licensing board that had issued Jenny's professional credential and teaching license. This was better than a background check. Giving embryos to someone who worked in a school setting guaranteed that the recipient was of good character, had never been arrested and had not committed malpractice. This was extra-sturdy karmic protection to ensure I was picking the best parents possible for any children that might come from this donation.

The embryos were spoken for and no longer our responsibility. It felt good. Now to get them the embryos.