Embryo "Adoption"

I've been asked a lot how embryo adoption works.  Let me explain.

When a couple goes through infertility treatments many end up doing in vitro fertilization. The woman is given hormones to stimulate her ovaries to produce a whole bunch of eggs. As many eggs as possible are retrieved using a needle and an ultrasound. Within a few hours they attempt to fertilize the eggs using sperm from the male's sample. Sometimes they will help the sperm out and implant them into the egg manually. The fertilized embryos are watched closely for signs of normal growth.

Typically the couple will take 1 or 2 of the "fresh" embryos and implant into the woman's uterus or sometimes into a surrogate's uterus if carrying a baby herself is not an option. Once a few are implanted the embryos that appear to be developing normally are then frozen for future use.

At some point in time, when their family is complete, couples receive a letter asking them what they want to do with their left over embryos. They can donate them anonymously, donate them privately, donate them to research, destroy them or continue to pay the cost to freeze them. Many couples have started choosing to donate the embryos to another couples trying to grow their own family. That's where embryo adoption comes in. Donors and recipients can find each other through friendships, fertility clinics, websites geared toward embryo donation and even SOCIAL MEDIA! That's where we found ours. That will be a story for a different day.

Once all of the required testing has been done and we are deemed eligible for a frozen embryo transfer the embryos will be shipped from Texas to South Carolina. We plan to transfer 1 embryo into my seemingly healthy uterus in hopes that a pregnancy will develop and that I may one day give birth to our adopted child!  The child will not be biologically related to my husband or myself but I hope to be able to experience pregnancy and breastfeeding just like anyone else.

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