I get asked this question. A lot. I have no idea how many times I’ve been asked this question over the past few years. On one hand, it tells me how excited everyone really is about me becoming a mom. It’s touching. It warms my heart. It reminds me that I am on the minds of others and that I am loved. On the other hand, it’s a double edged sword because there is a whole heck of a lot of waiting inherently involved in this process. It is agonizing when there is no news to share. Day after day, week after week, year after year. Anyone who has experienced infertility and/or adoption knows all about the waiting and has answered this question.
The good news is that I do indeed have news! We are in the embryo adoption program through an agency referred to me by my doctor. We’ll call him Dr. D. I love him. He is going to help me become a mom once and for all. If you are new to my story and would like to learn more about embryo adoption, here is the short story. When people do Invitro Fertilization, sometimes they have more embryos from the cycle than they can use. The traditional options are either to donate them to science (stem cell research), destroy them, or donate them anonymously. For various reasons that are unique to each family, many people are not comfortable with any of these options. Families now have the option to allow couples who are struggling to start a family to adopt their embryos. It’s a beautiful and unique alternative for both families. I will be able to experience giving birth to my adopted child and the genetic family has an alternative for their embryos that they are comfortable with. It’s win-win, as Dr. D says. It works for both families on many levels. This is also called a “Snowflake Adoption.” I like this term. Each snowflake is unique, just like each embryo is unique. Plus they are frozen, so, you know, it fits.
This process is very similar to a traditional adoption. We have completed a homestudy and have been matched with a family whose embryos we will receive. Out of respect for the privacy of the genetic family, I will not share specific details about them here. I will say that they are a beautiful and loving family and we will be receiving numerous embryos! I have been thanking God for them and their precious gift every day since November 25th (the day we received their profile). This is wonderful news, as we will have an opportunity to give our child a genetic sibling from this same batch of embryos later on, if we so choose. That is, if I am not preggo with twins right away. (You may not know this about me, but I always thought I would have twins. I swear, I’ve had this feeling since I’ve been little. Whenever we would play the old Life board game, I would yell out, “YES!” when I landed on the twin spot. I just loved putting all of those matching little pink and blue pegs in my car. Who knows if this process will lead to twins. We shall see. If it’s in the cards, I am thinking that my life is really going to change.) At any rate, we would be THRILLED with one healthy baby to love.
So now, we wait some more. The adoption contracts have been signed and notarized and the agency is going to start coordinating the shipment of the embryos. They have to rent a dry shipper (these snowflakes are coming from California! I’ve never even been to Cali…lucky snowflakes!) and arrange it so that the embryologists in both sending and receiving clinics are available. I am not sure how long this part of the process will take. I will let you know when I hear something. My contact at my agency told me back in the fall that her best guess would be that we will be receiving the embryos some time in March. Again, we shall see. So, from now on, any news will be posted here. This will be where I update everyone and also educate others about this process. If I can help one heartbroken woman on her road to becoming a mom by sharing my experience, then every word I type and photo I share will be worth it. You can still ask me if there’s any news. I love that you want to hear about it.
Once Dr. D has received the embryos, M and I have to go to a class at the clinic where he learns how to inject progesterone into my butt. We will have to do this for a few weeks and I will also take estrogen orally to prepare my uterus to be a welcoming environment for those little embies. (Do they make underwear with little “welcome” mats printed on them? Hee hee). When the conditions are right, we go in for a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). This is a very simple office procedure. The embies will be placed into my uterus with a catheter. Then I will stand on my head, bounce up and down, and will them to stick. (Okay, I won’t do that.) Hopefully, two weeks after that, I get my blood drawn and will be informed that I am pregnant!
A few people have asked me how many I will transfer. That’s not exactly easy to answer. First off, statistically, only about 50% of frozen embryos will survive the thawing process. Dr. D. will decide how many to thaw. If I understand this correctly, they are frozen in straws that hold 3-5 embryos, but I’ll have to verify that. Then, out of those that survive, Dr. D will advise me on how many to transfer. The goal is one healthy baby and one healthy mom. I will only transfer as many as I am willing to responsibly parent. There is no potential for Octomom here. I am not looking for a reality show. I am thinking it will be 2-3 embryos that will be transferred, but again, I’ll let you know when the time comes.
Whew! That was a lot of information. Thanks for hanging in there. Hopefully you now understand all of this a little better. I welcome any questions as well as respectful comments.