Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our Journey Towards Embryo Adoption

A lot of you have been asking about our embryo adoption process the last couple days, so I thought I’d put it all together on here.

Over the past three years we have considered IVF(in vitro fertilization), traditional adoption, and other fertility medications, and feel that embryo adoption/donation is the best option for us medically, financially, and ethically. When we got married we had talked about adopting sometime in our future, but didn’t realize that it would be our first family building opportunity.

A little over a year ago we attended an informational night that Antioch Adoptions held for families interested in domestic adoption. We were still apprehensive (we had heard a few unhappy stories of adopted children being taken out of their adopting family’s home and placed back in a birthparent’s home due to legal battles), but that night made us realize how selfishly we had been thinking. After reading through the paperwork, hearing how the process would work, and listening to an adoptive family’s story, we were reminded that any children God gives us, can also be taken from us at anytime. We are stewards not just of things, but also of our kids, and it’s all in God’s plan and control. We began filling out the 50+ page extensive application for Antioch Adoptions and almost had it completed, but were still a bit daunted by the prospect of needing to wait a year or more to get through our home study with them and have children placed in our home at an indeterminate amount of time after that (up to 2 years).

Last fall we found out that Embryo Adoption Services of Cedar Park had just opened in our area. We perused their website, did a little research, talked to our doctors, and shared a few phone calls with Maria, who runs their agency. We talked and thought and prayed, finally deciding we’d fill out an application and see how far God would lead. Our doctors gave us approval, then two weeks ago we had a couple hour meeting with Maria to get our questions answered and hear how the process would work. We were so shocked at the short time frame! With a traditional adoption, it would likely take 2 years, but with embryo adoption, it can be less than 6 months!

Before I get ahead of myself, I’ll explain what embryo adoption is. When people do IVF, the doctor normally fertilizes many more eggs than is necessary because it’s such an invasive process to get them, and they don’t know how many cycles it will take before one will implant. This creates an ethical dilemma because it leaves embryos (fertilized eggs) in the freezer once the family is done having children. The family then has to pay rent on the freezer space indefinitely, destroy the embryos, or donate them to medical research (stem cell). Basically, there are lives stuck in the freezer, or they are killed in the name of science. The sad thing is that embryonic stem cells aren’t the only stem cells available for research anymore; however they don’t take as long to grow. Because of this dilemma, families have begun offering their embryos for donation/adoption in the past ten years. At this point, there are only about 300 children adopted in this manner in the US.

From our side, the process will go something as follows.

· Apply through Cedar Park Embryo Adoption Services

· Complete a home study with background checks as in a traditional adoption, and submit a family profile letter (describing our life and interests)

· Get a letter of good health from our doctor

· Cedar Park sends out our profile to families who are somewhat similar to us racially (to reduce issues of kids having identity issues), financially, and has a larger number of embryos

· Once a donating family accepts us we get a profile letter for them and a family medical history, which we then accept or reject

· Once we have a match, we pay for the embryos to be FedExed to our clinic in Seattle, and get a month or two of hormone therapy to prepare for pregnancy

· Then the doctor will try to implant 2 embryos and we see what God has in mind for us

We had the first meeting for our home study last night, and were amazed at how straight forward it was. We were left with quite a bit of paperwork to fill out, and spent the next few hours getting through most of it! Now we have to get our fingerprints done (which appears to be a little tricky as many of the local police departments have made budget cuts, thus losing their fingerprinting services!) for our FBI clearance, and get a few people to write reference letters for us. We also need to write our family profile letter.

Hopefully that all makes sense! I’ll try to keep updating where we’re at in the process from time to time. We’re happy to talk about any of this if you have questions too!


  1. Wow, I'm really excited for you about how short of a process this will be as opposed to traditional adoption. I'll be praying that God goes before you and that the rest of the process goes smoothly.

  2. Such a blessing! You are both in our prayers for this and for God's will be clear as you continue your journey towards being parents. I'm so excited!

  3. I have heard about this before but never have known anyone who has done it. What an incredible thing, I hope everything goes well!


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