With elections just around the corner, we are once again hearing about every issue, but I haven't heard about the embryo debate.
With elections just around the corner, we are, once again hearing about every issue that someone could come up with, but I haven’t heard the embryo debate recently. I think that it has to be the topic of the moment for it to get attention. Of course, there are a range of opinions regarding the use of embryos for research and other causes. Some well thought out debates have ensued from both sides of the table. But I learned of another “use” for embryos just a few days ago. And I cannot imagine why anyone would be opposed to it. It’s embryo adoption. Yes, you can adopt embryos to be implanted, carried, and born as your own.
Often when couples undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), many eggs are harvested. They end up storing the eggs, once they have successful implantation and pregnancy. This can be a very expensive ordeal for the parents, but what else are they to do? They can donate them to research and potentially have their egg, their embryo be the key to a cure for a multitude of diseases. For myself, I think that is a very noble and just cause to know I’ve been involved with, but I know there is great concern from many people about research conducted using embryos. With even greater concern is simply to destroy the potential embryos. This raises all kinds of red flags for people across the board, but again, it’s quite expensive and sometimes a terrific burden on families to keep embryos for an indefinite period of time. And then what happens after time? Do we really know how long an embryo can be preserved without damage? And what if now the parents are much older, their family is grown, what is done with the eggs and sperm? Now there is another option. Embryonic adoption. A couple can put their embryos up for adoption. Then couples that are seeking adoption can go through a process to adopt them. They are implanted and hopefully a baby develops.
I learned about this process from a new friend who actually did adopt embryos. She and her husband had difficulty conceiving and found out that his sperm count was too low. They discussed IVF with a sperm donor but decided they didn’t want a child that was genetically hers and another man’s. Eventually they were discussing adoption. And although this was a viable option, she really felt somewhat cheated of being able to carry and deliver a child. Then they heard about embryonic adoption. They could actually implant an embryo, she could carry it during pregnancy and deliver her baby. They researched different agencies and eventually found a place they felt comfortable with. They were able to see the medical history of the genetic parents but didn’t know much more. The first time, the implantation went well til a few months later when she miscarried. But they didn’t give up. Two more tries and implantation and growth were on the way to a normal pregnancy. Then they found out that they were having twins. Another unusual finding. Normally when twins are formed it’s because the egg splits into two, but she already had an embryo and once it was implanted it split. Amazing miracle. Now they have beautiful healthy 3 year old girls. At some point they will tell their girls about their beginnings. We talked about how much easier it might be to tell your child they were adopted not because their genetic parents didn’t want them but because they wanted them to have life. How wonderful to know that because of you, those embryos have the chance to grow into wonderful people. Who knows what would have happened to them otherwise.