Monday, July 25, 2016

Embryo Donation?

A few months ago, my close friend Kate asked if I would consider donating my embryos to her friend Leslie (not her real name). Leslie had, I think, entertained thoughts of becoming an SMC herself but then met a lovely man in her early forties. Leslie made it clear that having children was a relationship deal breaker for her, and the man agreed. They got married in her mid forties and set about adopting a child. A beautiful baby girl was delivered to them.... and then taken away a few short days later. Leslie and her husband were devastated, but after taking some time to grieve, began the adoption process again. They were about to receive another infant when Leslie's husband had a change of heart. He announced he didn't want children after all.

Leslie had a terrible decision to make. The marriage versus a child. They went to counseling. First once a week, then twice a week. In the end, the decision was made for her. The husband moved out. And two weeks later, Kate shared with Leslie my offer. I hadn't known that Leslie hadn't known of it until then. But Kate was worried that Leslie would feel pressured if she had known.

Yesterday Kate emailed to say that Leslie was very touched by my offer, and would probably be in touch in a few weeks.

My mind is swirling. Will she even want my embryos, when she knows my family's full health history (nothing shockingly bad, but a fair amount of ADHD and some depression and anxiety)? What role would I play in this child's life? Would he or she know me? What relationship would he have with my girls? Would we be honest about their biological relationship? What would they call each other? Brother (or less likely, sister) doesn't feel right, doesn't honor my girls' relationship with each other, but they obviously aren't donor half siblings, either. Would we keep her son's biological origins a secret for our shared community of acquaintances? Would my own siblings know of the origins of this child?

I'm nervous but excited. It feels right to share my wealth -- I've been so lucky in conceiving so many viable embryos. Leslie is a good person. I don't know her well, but what I know of her, I admire. And I know and trust Kate deeply. She wouldn't be close with Leslie is Leslie wasn't good people. So I guess I'm going to lurch forward with this crazy plan, if Leslie chooses to.


  1. It is a lot to process. And some of it you need to process on your own and some you will need to process with L. As you know I donated my embryos but unfortunately there were no children as a result. But if you want to talk, fell free to call or PM!

  2. Wow, what a thought process! I've often wondered if I had embryos on ice, what I would do with them and how I would feel about them being birthed and raised by someone else. The answer is I have no frickin' idea.

  3. Wow. Exciting and a lot to take in! I have one embryo left from Zach's cycle. I will never destroy it, but I doubt I'll ever use it myself.

  4. I'm hopeful and excited for you! And inspired by your generosity. Her story is pretty heartbreaking to hear - perhaps because I've gone through something similar but not including marriage. What is this "change of heart" BS? Said with some humor but also frustration. In any case, it sounds like she has such a huge dream to become a mom, like us, and I think it might be really fun for you and the girls to have more extended family, especially since she is already connected to your community. The questions you raise are good ones but I imagine you guys can figure it out? Sending support and good thoughts!