Friday, June 13, 2008

Embryo Adoption FAQ

We encourage our friends and family (and strangers, politely), to ask us questions about Embryo Adoption. We love to share any answers that we have, and research those we don't. Here is an FAQ of the questions we are commonly asked. Please feel free to ask us any that you have! No question is too "stupid" and so long as it's respectful and doesn't violate the privacy or honor of our family or the genetic parents, nothing is off-limits, so ask away!

In no particular order:

Q: Are these embryos created for you?
A: No. These are not "made to order." These embryos were created at the impetus of and for the transfer by their original genetic parents. We only enter in to the picture when the genetic parents find themselves unable or unwilling to transfer additional embryos, yet still having some left in storage.

Q: Will you know the gender of the embryos?
A: Nope! Not until 18-20 weeks in to a pregnancy like everyone else :) At the stage of transfer to my uterus, they're simply too small and have not yet developed sex organs.

Q: How many embryos will you have?
A: That depends on how many the family we are matched with has. Nightlight guarantees 6, so if we are matched with a family that has fewer than that, we will actually be matched with multiple families.

Q: Will you meet the genetic parents?
A: Again, that depends on the genetic parents. In the typical Nightlight process, you don't meet, at least not up front. You may choose to meet later on after birth as the child is growing up. We're not opposed to a pre-match meeting, and would agree to it if matched with a family that required it, but it's not one of our non-negotiables that we do (or don't) meet them.

Q: Will you have contact with the genetic parents?
A: Yes. One of our non-negotiables is that we at least know their complete names, contact information, medical history and cultural/racial history if known. We also require permission to give names and contact info to the children when the children are of age, if they have not thus far been in contact. We are required by Nightlight to send updates on the children to the agency so that the Genetic Parents can retrieve them if they so desire. Whether we have contact beyond all that will really depend on the individual dynamics of the match and what both parties want. We want some email contact, at the very least. We think it would be in our children's best interest to at least have some semblance of contact with or knowledge of their genetic parents.

Q: If still have more embryos after a successful transfer, pregnancy and birth, what happens to them?
A: Those embryos remain "ours" (though all children are just on loan to us from God). One thing that we actually love about Embryo Adoption is that our children will have a realistic possibility of having genetic siblings. Most recently created embryos are frozen in 1s, 2s or 3s. We're guaranteed 6 through Nightlight. We would only thaw 2 or 3 at a time, depending on how they were frozen. We'd wait for them to thaw, and then transfer the ones that survived. If we get pregnant, the other 3 or 4 embryos would remain frozen until we were ready to have another child. If none of the first batch survived the thaw or implanted, we could thaw more within a few cycles of the first. If all of the embryos die with no successful pregnancies, we would be matched with another family. If in any case we were left with embryos we could not carry, we would transfer them back to the care of their genetic parents, who at that point would likely find another adoptive couple for them.

Q: Is there a possibility for multiples?
A: Yes. Currently, the frequency of multiple live births in our program is 28%. If the currently pregnant women in the program all give live birth to their multiples, the rate will increase to 31%. (My hubby did all this math--ask him if you have questions). Hubster likes to point out that twins run in his family. =). Twins or triplets would be fraternal. They would be twins or triplets insofar as they would implant and be born at the same time, but they would be two (or three) separate embryos from the get-go (as opposed to one embryo that splits).

Q: How many embryos would you transfer at one time?
A: This depends somewhat on how the embryos were frozen to begin with because you must thaw all frozen in a batch. We would not transfer more than three at a time, but ideally, we would transfer only two at a time because even if both took, a twin pregnancy can be relatively safe. We would not transfer more than 3 at a time because of the risk posed to both me and the children by high-multiple pregnancies.

Q: Could you end up like and Ka.te plus 8? (we actually get this a lot!)
A: Very unlikely. We might end up with 8 children, but not all at once (or in their case, 6 at once). I don't know their story at all. I don't know if they did IVF or Clomid or whatever. I've never seen their show--I've only heard about it several times through our process. For us to end up with sextuplets, we'd have to transfer 3 embryos and have all 3 of those embryos split in to two once en utero. That's very very very unlikely, statistically speaking, even if these were naturally conceived children. And since we'd never transfer 6 embryos at once, we wouldn't get there that way, either.

That's all I can remember. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!