A donor embryo discussion thread??

(46 posts)(15 voices)
  1. DimaR, i don't have any advice, but wow your post is a bit of an eye opener. we're not quite ready yet to donate ours (why? because we're crazy, i guess), but i know my RE would not transfer to a known donee either. i'm going to call them and see what their actual policies are.

    like you, i would never allow someone else to call the shots w/ my embryos. and i completely agree that i'd want to know all of the kids that result, and their families.

    keep us posted


  2. We matched with one family through Miracles Waiting who is in CA and their clinic, just a normal clinic, might accept me as a "patient", allow our embryos to be shipped there, and then allow us to donate them as we are ready, but that is still not confirmed.
    DimaR, This is exactly what my donor did. Her clinic would also not ship them in my name. So they were shipped in her name and then donated to me. She also reserved 3 of the 10 embryos for her own possible future use.

    It was a major pain in the ass with paperwork, etc. But we made it happen!


    The thaw went beautifully. 3 were thawed and all survived. We transferred a 6 cell, a 5 cell, and a 4 cell day 2 embryos. Only the 4 cell had some fragmentation. I feel so hopeful!!!

  3. God bless you for donating and wanting to take an active part in where your embryos will grow up. While I would be on the receiving end, and I do have 2 bio kids I can fully imagine if I were to have to place embryos. There is no way I could leave them in the hands of an uninvolved third party, I couldn't be comfortable with it at all. When it is done by them and it is completely anon, there is no recourse by the bio family or the adoptive family, that connection should remain open if at all possible! What you are doing is miraculous in itself!

  4. Best of luck, olgagiannak!!! Please keep us posted!

  5. Thanks, Christine. 4dp2dt, so nothing to report yet.

  6. I am pretty sure I know how I feel about this but I just thought I'd put it out there for some potential discussion. When we first started this process, I thought I didn't want to donate to a family with biological children, purely out of fear that the "adopted" child may be a second-class citizen in the family. Years ago, I met a man who had a biological daughter and an adopted son, and he told me that, try as he might, he feels much closer to his biological daughter. So that has sort of sat with me.

    I've spoken about the difficulties I've faced just getting our embryos available for donation and through the process, we have ended up working with a family with a biological child. As I've gotten to know them, I really think they seem just great and so committed to having a larger family, and the "issue" of there being a biological child already in their family seems secondary now. But a little bit of that is undoubtedly due to the fact that I've run into so many logistical problems so it just seems easier to keep working with them, rather than trying to find the seemingly "perfect" family (which I thought I had already) and having it fall apart because of the constraints imposed on us by the clinic where the embryos are now.

    Anyone with any experience with this? I assume this question applies to people with donated gametes as well so pls, pls feel free to reply.

    Thank you!

  7. DimaR,
    Good question. I can't speak from my own experience (I am pg with donor embies but we don't have any bio children), but I know a couple of ladies who had a bio child and subsequent child(ren) with donor eggs. Both admitted wondering if they would feel differently about thier children from donor eggs vs. their bio children. One in particular struggled and worried right up until the birth. Both felt that after their children were born, "it didn't matter," and they "don't love their children from donor eggs any less or differently than their bio children." I'm guessing that's how most parents feel, but if one goes into the process with unresolved issues, then I guess there would be a chance of transferring that to the child. As far as me, I have no doubt that I will love this child the same as if he/she were my bio child...and I will certainly appreciate my child more after going through so much just to have a family. I don't know if this helps or not. I'm imagining that your decision is incredibly complex. Still, you are doing a wonderful thing...no matter who you pick as the lucky recipient(s)!

  8. I can only speak as a mother with bio children here, so I don't know if my input carries much water. We've been researching embryo adoption for a good couple of months now since it seems impossible for us to do a normal adoption (long story involving lots of people too lazy to do their jobs, but I digress). So far it seems to me that no-one will be willing to donate their embryos to us since we have three children already. Because of that reason we are now looking at going to Spain for donor embryos, but I can't tell you how it breaks my heart that my (potential) donor conceived children won't be able to know where they come from or have some relationship with their biological siblings. It's just the only option left, it seems. From my point of view I can tell you that the longing for another child is so great that I know we'll love the child/ren exactly the same. Many people say we're crazy to want to adopt in the first place and even crazier to want to do an embryo adoption. Personally I don't care if my children are biologically related to me. I don't have to have a blood tie to love and I feel sadness for those who do.

    DimaR, you can stipulate in your donor contract that ownership of any embryos not tranferred after a certain time, say two years, reverts back to you at that point. Thanks for letting me jump in here.

  9. Good point, christina_m. We actually had our contract written that way...any donor embies remaining in our possession after two years revert back to our donors. We all wanted it that way because we think that the decision about what to do with any leftover embies should be left up to the donors.

  10. I have 2 bio children, my husband has none, but he couldn't love them anymore than if they were his own. My husband is paying for my daughter's wedding, her biological father (very controlling and I bless God every day for allowing me the chance to escape him) balked over just paying for the dress when he so graciously, since he makes twice the money we do and we do quite well!!!! (pressed by his wife who is my ex best friend) offered to do that little bit. I could go on and on about how my husband loves my children who have no biological tie to him. We tried the foster to adopt route, in the small city in the south we are in, DHS wants to place with people who will live here for the rest of their lives and they told us that to our faces, placed a child with us and for six months loved him every bit as much as my bio children (maybe more....) and had him ripped away from us to send back to the grandparents of his younger brother (no relation to him) who had kicked this poor baby to the curb only days before Christmas and his birthday. That has been 2 years ago and it still hurts like it was yesterday. We have tried donor egg, and have had two failures due to immature oocytes..... We haven't yet decided to pursue donor embryos yet, but if we do, I just want DimaR to know that there are generous, loving, wonderful and caring people out there who would give anything to have a larger family and blood doesn't necessarily make you a fantastic parent, but LOVE does! I thought I was one of the "good" ones out there and I am, but to prove that there are people out there, take a look at my cousin and his wife who have opened their home, 23 times! This is the kind of families we were reared in (yes, in the Balto-Wash area!!!) to cherish every little one that we can have the priviledge of calling son or daughter no matter where they come from. Some of you on this board have probably seen "Our 27 Kids" on Discovery Health Network. I am here to tell you that they are the finest parents on the planet, I could never even hope to hold a candle to them, but we had the best examples of parenthood to learn from and that was the Murphy brothers, Bill (Johnnie's dad) and mine, John Edward (Ed). Anyhow, DimaR, please take a look and put your heart to rest that yes, there are those out there who will never put a biological child on a pedestal next to an adopted child! And you will be the light that shines in their lives for years to come! youtube.com

  11. I too was on the rec'ing end of donor embies. We rec'd 14 embies back in 2004, which had been frozen since 2003. We didn't end up doing the cycle with them until 2006. While we were doing the paperwork to transfer the embies to our names, we had a surprise private adoption fall into our laps so we waited. (We also have another child through foster-adopt who was born in 2000).

    We rec'd the 14 embies and when we did the cycle, we ended up having to thaw all 14 just to get 2 that look "ok". Didn't matter, as it worked! DS is now 2 yrs old, (and the cutest chunkamunk!)

    We have a pretty open relationship with our donors(whom we met through this website. Also, I refer to them as donors since they technically aren't "birth" parents, I am. Hope this doesn't offend). The donors and I have emailed back and forth, almost monthly since this all started in 2004. They have met DS once, with another meeting planned for this spring/summer. Whenever we have pictures done, we always send them some. As of now, DS's full and half siblings don't know about him. This is the choice of the donors. Nobody knows that they did IVF and they don't want anyone to know. I have however told them that I don't plan on "hiding" how DS came into the world. I am proud of how he joined our family, and tell anyone who will listen about "our story". It's amazing! I think, someday, they will know about him, and I am totally open to him having a relationship with them.He is an awesome little boy and I kinda feel like they are missing out on knowing a wonderful child. (They live about 90 minutes from us).

    I think I am probably more comfortable with the open-ness of our relationship b/c I have two other children who were adopted, one is extremely open, and the other is completely closed. I really do prefer the open adoption.

    DH and I would like to have one more (I REALLY REALLY enjoyed being pregnant and breastfeeding -21 months! yeah!) and would like to do another donor embryo FET. I think it's such a great thing that science has come this far to offer this option.


  12. i just gave birth to a healthy set of twins, boy and girl in May from donor eggs. The babies are half Asian (donor) and just beautiful and half Italian.

    My clinic is going to charge me for storage fees for 5 embryos if I decide to store them but I am not planning to have any more children.

    Does anyone know how do I go about donating the embryos? They are currently in SoCal and I need to make a decision quickly. I would love to see the embryos go to a deserving couple.


  13. Check out www.miracleswaiting.org

    Good Luck!!! And congrats on the twins!

  14. After so much time, we are getting very close to finalizing our donation with the couple we've been working with since the beginning of this journey (this thread chronicles it).

    Back a few month, their RE had said she was uncomfortable going forward with the whole thing until we had our second child, so I told the couple we needed to wait and they should continue looking. Well, they did, didn't work out, and contacted me again a few months after DS2 was born to ask if we were ready to move forward.

    So we are - but I started to get cold feet. And I came back to this board and re-read everything and read comments I hadn't seen, and it is just so reassuring. No, it's not going to be easy - I'm so afraid of being jealous that someone else gets to live with what I hope will become a child(ren) as wonderful as the two we have now, but what's the alternative - simply not letting them exist when there is the opportunity for them to? And, although I am almost positive we won't have any more, we are keeping a few (we have 18!) and have a clause that any of the ones we are donating now that they don't use revert to us in two years.

    I'm also scared that I'll feel the hurt and pain of IVF again if this doesn't work for them, but again, small price to pay for the possibility.

    The oldest child from embryo adoption is only 10 or 11 - this is almost completely uncharted territory, which is probably part of what makes it feel so daunting, but also pretty miraculous.

  15. DimaR, I have posted on this thread before. I am currently 32.5 weeks pregnant from an open embryo donation. I wish I could tell you you'll never have mixed feelings going forward, but this is complicated stuff emotionally. IMO, the wonderful outweighs the difficult by FAR!

    I last posted in this thread after my first FET. It failed. I will be honest, my donor took it hard. You're probably right, that it brought back the pain of her failed IVF cycles. My lining was perfect, the thaw was perfect, but nothing stuck. We were both devastated. But I tried again, and the second time was the charm. I am pregnant with a very active little girl.

    My donor has gone through some emotional ups and downs during my pregnancy. Of course she was thrilled that the cycle worked, but then she needed some distance. I gave it to her. I sent her an email after my anatomy scan at 20 weeks to tell her I was having a girl, and didn't hear back for quite a while. But now, as my due date is quickly approaching she has been in frequent contact. She's been having a blast on my registry. (She and her daughter (my girl's full genetic sib) liked a fancier swing than I registered for, and asked if it would be okay for them to get it.) Yesterday I received a package of pampering bath and body stuff just for me! The other night we emailed back and forth when I was upset about something idiotic my sister said to me. Last month I sent her kids birthday gifts. We are extended family.

    Shhhh, don't tell her , but I plan to have a big flower arrangement sent to her right after I deliver.

    Yes, it's daunting, but it's also amazing to be part of something so miraculous!

  16. DimaR... DH and I are recipients of donated embies, and we are so grateful to our donors for giving us such an amazing gift! I'm 5w2d, so it's still early, but we're hopeful this will be our 1st live child after 8 years of ttc... We have an open donation agreement with our donors, and I've been keeping the donor wife in the loop of my FET, betas, etc. It's really great to have someone to share this journey with, and she totally understands where I've been and going. I think we'll always have a special relationship with our donors. I think they are geniunely wonderful people who we were fortunate to meet in such a special circumstance.

    I've read the entire thread from beginning to end, and I have to say what an amazing thing you're wanting to donate your embies. I know whoever you choose as the recipient of your embies will be a perfect match for you, and I hope you're successful in finding them. My only advice is please DO NOT donate them until you're absolutely sure you're ready to do so. If you're having some cold feet and need reassurance, then perhaps, you're not quite ready yet? It's such an important decision for you and DH that I'd hate to see you make it until you're certain that you're ready. If you're not certain that you're not finished completing your family, then you should consider keeping all 18 embies until you're certain that you are finished. You just never know... It just might take thawing all 18 embies until you get 2 good ones to transfer.

    Just a thought... We received 3 excellent quality PGD vitrified blasts from our donors, and in our Agreement, we have a 5 year limit on the transfer of the embies. We have a chance at having more than 1 pg b/c we're doing 2 and 1 embie transfer. This cycle, we thawed 2 and 1 made it. We'll be going back for the last embie a year after the baby is born. If you decide to donate 6 embies (2 straws), I think a 2 year limit might be a little too short... 3-5 year limit might be more reasonable time period.

    Good luck with your decision.

  17. Thank you skanavi and amamama - both amazing posts.

    I have gone back and forth on "are we really done" and I think I have to say we are. DH is 53.5 and has a 5-month old and a 2.5 yo. He's a trooper but I just think it would be asking too much of him to bring yet another baby into the fold. In a different life, I'd have lived on a farm in Vermont and been a Unitarian version of Michelle Duggar (except for the whole inability to conceive part!!)! But as it is, I live and work in politics in hustle-bustle DC and had my first at 37 yo and second at 39.

    Had a ridiculous but reaffirming experience around the whole donation thing. This weekend, we were scheduled to have our first chat with the couple to whom we are donating (months over email, none on the phone). We scheduled the call for noon and about 5 minutes before, DH fell off a ladder. He is fine but it was horrible and nightmarish, yet, still, in the ambulance, he asked if I had contacted the couple to let them know we wouldn't be on the call. So they are pulling the stretcher out of the ambulance and I'm standing there texting to let them know we couldn't be on the call! So it's good to see that in the most traumatic of moments, our gut reaction was to keep this going forward.

    I said a silent prayer this morning that it works for her. I know I am going to get back on that emotional rollercoaster but I believe olgagiannak that it is worth it.

    In the midst of typing this I received an email from my clinic that all the forms are in order and the embryos are ready to ship. Here we go!

  18. I know I have expressed these fears already but I really need somewhere to organize my thoughts and I am afraid if I overdo it with DH, then he'll also get apprehensive.

    Most recently, the recipients and I have gone back and forth a little over paying for storage. Long story short, in order to donate, I had to ship all our embryos to their clinic in CA. But I wasn't ready to give up all the embryos, so we are keeping about half and donating about half (that's been the agreement from day one - they are totally on board with that). Therefore, there will be two separate storage fees - one for their embryos, one for ours. I asked them to pay some of our storage fees, mostly as a token, but also because there will be some overlap between the storage I already paid at our original clinic and the storage I'll need to pay at the new clinic. We originally decided they'd pay 6 months for our embryos, but then their lawyer said that was too much like "payment for the donation", and they said they are afraid to have legal exposure if they pay anything except for the most obvious of expenses incurred by us. I think there is an argument that this is an additional expense. Yes, we could parse it down to them paying for only the month or two of overlap between the two clinics, but rounding up to 6 months seemed like a nice gesture.

    In the end, it's only a couple hundred dollars, but I am doing this donation in part to draw a line under our fertility path, so it was an important token for me.

    Whether or not we get the money, not a big deal, but now, because I held the line for a little on them paying, I feel like I may have inserted some ill will, that could make them reflect negatively on the decision to take embryos from us.

    Does that sound weird?

    I know these embryos are just genetic material, but they are the same genetic material from which our two DSs sprung, so I can't help but feel protective of them. I don't want my mincing over a few hundred dollars make the recipients love them any less.

    I guess I really, really want assurance (and I've read it all over this board in other ways) that the recipients will love any children that come out of this as much as they can, regardless of how they feel about us.

    Have any of you who received donor embryos or gametes not "liked" the donor but totally separated those feelings from how you felt about the child? I don't think I've been so terrible as to become unlikable by the couple, it's just one more thing to worry about.

  19. Hey DimaR--

    Thought I would jump in here, I am the Mom of a bio son who is 11 (fertile ex husband) and a donor girl who is 3.5 and has special needs (prognosis is very good by the way...medical expenses are hellacious and we may have to file BK-but oh well). Our dx was severe male factor 5 failed ivf's (4 of our own and one failed donor cycle) before lucky #6.

    THere is NO DIFFERENCE in how I feel about my kids...none whatsoever. I adore them both. My daughter in spite of all of her medical issues is more even keel than my son and has been easier to raise from a personality standpoint. She is specatacular. It doesn't matter if she has special needs. She is OURS.

    I am blessed every day by this couple that chose to donate to us. It was an anonymous donation through our clinic so I only knew basics on the donor couple. We paid the storage fees on the embryos we received. My clinic apparently loves us though. THe storage fee was 500.00 but then the RE gave us the entire cycle (monitoring, transfer, follow up labs) for 519.00 more. We were stunned because it would have been more along 4000.00, We did the whole cycle for 1019.00

    A word of advice...it's not up to the recipient couple to draw a line under your fertility path. I don't think they should have to pay any amount for your storage fees. They should only pay for the donated embryos. So I disagree with you asking them to do that. If it had been me, it wouldn't have given me any ill will, per se. But it would make me worry about the deal falling apart...because they really want the embryos they personally may be willing to do whatever you ask...but inside they will be dying,,,wondering if they are ever going to get a chance to work with donor embryos that ***MAY*** give them a take home baby. I think their lawyer is correcting in pushing back.The lawyer is trying to protect them from a legal standpoint. There is no protection for them emotionally...they are completely at your mercy.

    It sounds like you want to do the right thing.....and that is good. I don't think they are going to dislike you at all. They are scared. This is a hard thing to go through. I myself would not do an open embryo donation precisely for these reasons....tooooooo scary. Those who can do it(both donating and receiving) are better people than me. Be confident in knowing that your gift is a generous one...don't attach any strings to it. Your generosity is amazing!

    And hang in there!!!! PM me if you want.

    Happy THanksgiving..


  20. DimaR, I am probably about 1.5 weeks away from giving birth to my donor embryo daughter. As I have written before, this was an open donation. I have to say, like Laura, I don't really understand your wanting this token amount of money for emotional reasons. Re the finances of our embryos, I was very lucky. My donor is quite a bit more well off than I am. She took care of the shipping fees for the embryos. I paid for my transfers, and my travel expenses for the transfers. (We moved them to Canada so we would not have to deal with all the complicated FDA guidelines, so my travel was not insignificant.)

    She was originally reserving 3 for herself, but after my first FET failed, she donated the remaining ones to me as well. The second FET took, and there are now 2 embryos remaining. My plan is to return possession of these remaining embryos to her once I deliver.

    As for difficult feelings between us, this has come up. BUT, it in NO WAY affected my feelings for this child I'm carrying. She is my daughter. PERIOD. My donor found me through my blog. When I was in my first trimester she got into a dispute with some other bloggers. It got kind of vicious on all sides. For the most part, I decided to stay out of the melee. My donor was hurt that I didn't publicly defend her. There were some upsetting emails back and forth. Bottom line, as I put it to her, is that I think of her as extended family, and family is uniquely capable of hurting each other. We got through that difficult time, and things are terrific now. She surprised me a few weeks ago by flying in for my baby shower. She has bought my daughter some terrific gifts, but even more touching, has knitted a blanket and a hat, and made a quilt for her. I have sent her gifts for Christmas and Mothers Day, and sent gifts for her children's birthday. I also plan to send her a BIG flower arrangement right after I give birth.

    The other thing I think Laura is right about is that your recipients are likely scared things will fall apart. As much as I felt so good about my connection with my donor, I was very nervous until the embryos were officially in my name. I think letting go of any strings is the path to peace. Rejoice in giving this gift of life. It's an amazing thing you're doing.

  21. ama - how are you?? has your DD arrived yet??

    ivg - thank you for sharing so much about your personal story - I hope your little girl is and continues to thrive.

    Thank you guys so much for your honest replies. I'm probably not expressing myself clearly and from the pov of parents of donated embies, I probably do sound scary. In fact, I think you identified something I was doing unconsciously (and calling - "drawing a line"). I think I was doing a little tugging on the line, making sure the recipients are truly hooked and not ready to back off at the slightest hiccup, to make sure they really want them.

    There were so many logistics to work thru to make this happen - they had to wait out a lot of it but I had to do most of it, and I think as I approached the end, I thought - "has this been too easy for them?" (When I think back, they did a ton to facilitate everything - they'd probably choke if they heard me refer to their end as easy!)

    Hearing from you, the recipients, makes me recognize better the feelings they may be having.

    As far as I know, the donation is done. Their clinic had our signed contract even before the embies shipped, so my assumption was once they left our clinic, they were theirs. I don't know if that's the case but because I know I have a little cold feet, I haven't wanted to know the *exact* date the transition took/takes place.

    And it's not just cold feet - as I've expressed before, I'm afraid of the rollercoaster again. I'll obviously feel it more strongly with these embies but I feel it for everyone I know who's in the IF battle - I learned yesterday a friend is 9 weeks pregnant from IVF with a high-risk pregnancy and her stoicism is heart-breaking, saying how she is "pregnant for now" - I want to do a 8-month time warp for her until she is holding her child.

    Thank you again for sharing. You really do understand.

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