Thursday, February 15, 2007


Jenny and Erin had first asked for our frozen pre-embryos just before Thanksgiving. Now it was almost Christmas and we were about to head off on a holiday trip. Right after New Year's Jenny and Erin would have their intake appointment with the clinic. The holidays were turning into a busy time as we tried to help our recipients get some embryos.

We were hoping that the lawyer would get us the contract before we left town at the end of December. Jenny and Erin would have a calmer Christmas holiday with a signed contract in their hands.

I had an incredibly rude and illiterate comment from an anonymous visitor to the blog. Besides his or her extremely poor social skills, this person has poor reading comprehension. I'll guess it was a "he" since he had no idea how IVF or pregnancy works. He accused me of "handing out babies" to people I "didn't have a good feeling about".

I assume this is in response to my agreeing to give one single embryo to the first couple who contacted me and met my recipient criteria. After I agreed to donate they tried to change the terms of the contract we had agreed to. That is when I started to feel uncomfortable and refused to change the terms so as to end my commitment to donate.

What I was signing over in any case was a chance, not a child. With the second recipients, Jenny and Erin, each new interaction with them reinforced my impression that they were the perfect choice to receive the embryos.

And all our hand-wringing over picking the right parents could ultimately be for nothing.

I was NOT giving these women three babies. They were taking three fertilized eggs. At this two-celled stage they were not even embryos yet. The reason is there was no guarantee any of them would thaw safely. If they thawed, they might not grow. And even if they grew, the chances were low that they would attach to Erin's womb and become a baby.

What I was giving Jenny and Erin was about a 60% chance of having one child from the three embryos and about a 20% chance of having two. Having three, while possible, was more likely to result from the increased odds of identical twins with IVF. That chance was 3 to 10%. Barring identical twins, it was almost impossible that each of the three embryos would individually thaw, grow, implant and be carried to term. The recipients also had close to 50-50 odds of having no children from these embryos at all.

That is why embryo donation is NOT adoption. Adoption only exists when there is a child. There was no child here. We were donating fragile fertilized eggs that might not even thaw. There was only the hope of a child. But that hope was strong in Jenny and Erin and we would do all we could to nurture