Coming to terms with lingering sense of ownership over donated embryos

When my husband and I were in the middle of our IVF cycle and obsessing over shots, ultrasounds, invasive procedures and Googling every “early pregnancy symptom” ever documented, the last thing on our minds was having too many quality embryos.

Good embryos can be frozen, and transferring a frozen embryo is substantially less expensive, so each little embryo was another chance at finally becoming parents. Not having enough to transfer or freeze is every couple’s greatest fear, but having too many never crossed our mind. And we got lucky. One round of IVF, two embryos transferred, two perfect, healthy children. After the heartache and financial strain of infertility, we happily found ourselves on the other side. Our family was complete.

That’s when we finally had to stop and think about what would happen to the remaining three embryos that had been frozen. If money was no object, we might have considered having more kids, but we know that financially, two kids is what we can handle. We had three options: have the embryos destroyed, donate them to research or donate them to another couple struggling with infertility.

For my husband, the decision was easy and obvious: We’d donate them to another couple. For me, it was a little harder. It such a strange situation, thinking about our biological children potentially out there in the world, walking around looking like us, but belonging to someone else? Would I be able to handle the idea of having “my” child be raised by another family — without ever knowing a single thing about them?


But the more I thought about it, I began to realize that these wouldn’t be my children. They would have my DNA, but I won’t be the one who can’t stop staring at them the day they are born. I won’t be the one struggling to breastfeed them, or staying up with them all night when they are teething, or saving for their college education. While they might look like my husband and I, they will belong to their own parents.

Read full, original article: Donating Embryos, Not ‘Giving Up Babies’

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