Friday, July 31, 2009

on the rocks

red rings
Cecily has a typically thoughtful and thought-provoking post up about the dilemma of what to do if, at the end of the IVF process, when you feel your family is complete, you end up with some extra frozen embryos. I realize it's probably bad juju (which, thanks to commenter Anne, I now know also goes by term bachi in Hawaii) to even think about it, but, if we were lucky enough to have this cycle result in an actual take home baby, I'd really, really like to donate the couple of frozen embryos remaining to someone who wants a child -- though, I have to say that I'd prefer to do it anonymously.

What would you do if you had leftover frozen embryos? And, if you wanted to add to your family, would you accept a non-open embryo donation?

26 comments:

Joy said...

I love donating! If we have any left over I hope to donate. Who to donate to is an issue. I know a very deserving couple, but would not donate to them because I know them - but I've been thinking if I found another person with embryos to donate, we could switch "deserving couples" and then preserve our anonymity, while still being able to vouch for the recipients. I hate that embryo donation has been taken over by adoption agencies, which means that people who aren't allowed to adopt also aren't allowed to receive embryos. Hate that.

Donna said...

I'm really interested in the answers to this question. We have several frozen embryos and I have been debating what to do with them. Just like Joy - I know I very deserving couple that might consider using frozen embryos, but I don't want to donate ours just because we know each other so well. I haven't even done much research into how to donate embryo's - but I would much rather do that than have them destroyed. I went through far to much to get them.

Sunny said...

This is a tough question -- and one of the main reasons why my husband is unwilling to do IVF if our IUIs don't work. He feels very strongly that those are babies and would never let them be destroyed. But we both struggle with donating them. I like the CONCEPT, I think it's a beautiful gift to give someone. I'm just not sure I would be able to let them go.

A friend of mine decided that because she has the same reservations, that they would attempt FETs with ALL of their frozen embies, even though they have twins from their first IVF.

de said...

It's quite a journey to get to the point of having remaining embryos, and living through the process would certainly inform my opinion, but I have not. My initial choice is donation for research, but if I were closer to the matter of infertility, I imagine I would be more inclined to donate to someone. I do know a woman for whom the process did not work, yet she recently gave birth thanks to a donated embryo.

However, I think an anonymous embryo donation would be the only kind of embryo donation I would be willing to accept, or offer. I just can't imagine how I would deal with such a vague-yet-profound relationship with anyone. But again, that's just lack of life experience talking.

Elle Bee said...

When we thought we would be successful during our first IVF cycle, we discussed donating remaining embryos, but never got to that point. Now that we're on the other end, we've been talking about looking into donor embryos...

planningdoesntwork said...

We are likely to have frozen embryos left after we finish our family building. We've kind of discussed what we'd do, but our options are limited. We live in Canada. The clinic we went through will only do donation if I actually bring someone in and say that I want my embryos put into her. There is one clinic in the country that will do anonymous donation, but our embryos don't qualify because, although they are good quality, we used ICSI and they won't allow that.

Unless it was my sister (and I hope she never needs them) I don't think I could donate to someone close to me so I think we're left with the destroy/donate to science option.

missedconceptions said...

There was a really good article on this exact topic in Brain, Child magazine. I am too lazy to go all the way upstairs to get it, but it was very thought provoking.

(I was actually going to send you the link, but you beat me to it with this post.)

niobe said...

Missedconceptions: I saw that article and was fascinated by writer's point of view. Which, obviously, I don't share.

Furrow said...

I support individual choice in the matter, but I'm torn about what I would do. I didn't know that embryo donation was brokered through adoption agencies. I assumed that there was biographical and medical info available to adopting families, but that's it. My first choice would be to donate leftover embryos, but it's the complexities of this issue that have me debating whether I would even take the step toward IVF if IUIs don't work this time. I would have done so to get a first child with no hesitations, but now... I don't know.

entrusted said...

If IVF with our own gametes doesn't work, I really like the idea of using donor/adopted embryos. My husband is a little weirded out by the idea. We've talked to a local RE who does donor FET, and even looked at the list of available embryos. We'll see what happens...

entrusted said...

I forgot to say that the donor FET at the local clinic would be anonymous (non-open). We would also consider open embryo adoption.

Magpie said...

Never having had embryos worth freezing, I don't know what we would have done with spares. I think I would have donated them, I think my husband might have objected. I did sign all the papers letting them use the untransferred unfrozen embryos for research.

As to using donated embryos, I think I'd have considered it, but I'd want it to be slightly open - not necessarily names, but some markers, just to have an idea about whose gametes they were.

Kristin said...

I honestly don't know what I would do but i would be a choice between donation to someone or donation to medical research. I could not just destroy them.

I absolutely could accept a non-open embryo donation.

Rachel said...

I don't think it's fair to the humans those embryos may become to have no openness at all. A human being deserves to know his or her genetic background. It seems like a basic human right to me.

People simply want to know why they exist and who they look like. It's just human. To not know affects different people differently, but I think most grow up more well-adjusted and secure in themselves by knowing -- even if the people with those genes aren't their parents.

Trish said...

This is a really hard question! At first I would say, of course I would accept embryos without any idea as to their parentage. However, I think that I would at least want to know the ages, race, and intellectual capacity of the parents. I know that it is shallow, but it is true for me.
Let's hope that this cycle does end with an "actual take home baby". :)
As far as what I would do with frozen embryos- I would donate them. I could not destroy them!

painted maypole said...

i would totally accept anonymous embryos - assuming you could check health history and stuff (like you can with donated sperm)

Miss Conception said...

It's such a personal decision and one that cannot be taken lightly. As the recipient of donated embryos in a semi-open relationship, I can tell you that the experience has been amazing. I am now 35 weeks pregnant with twins as a result and we speak with our donor via email at least once a week. I know that many people would not be comfortable with this situation, but in our case, our children will have full blood siblings as a result and we want to keep the lines of communication open for them for the future.
I wish anyone luck and strength when making these decisions.

Betty M said...

I used all mine so never had to make the decision. I am not sure we can donate here and if we can we would have to be known donors as there is no more anon don-ing here.I think if I had any left and I could not use them they would have gone to research

Maggie said...

I have to say, I never even thought about what people do. The RE's that I know all have gobs of frozen embryos stored, which I guess just led me to believe that most people just kept them.

What a tough decision...and it's so interesting to read the various opinions on it.

My fingers are crossed that your FET last week was successful, and that this is a decision that you will have to make soon!

dj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
My Reality said...

I don't really see too much of a difference in non-open embryo donation and the way I grew up - a closed adoption.

We considered donor embryos and may still consider it in the future as my ovaries just plain suck.

Jana said...

Like Cecily, I would donate for solely for research.

Eva said...

I'd donate for research, but wouldn't be upset about destroying. It just doesn't strike me as much different from wasting eggs or sperm, and we do that all the time. :)

Anonymous said...

When I was an undergrad a friend sold her eggs. It paid her room & board. At the time I was so poor I could barely afford toothpaste. She made the sales pitch. I declined. Now, with a beautiful infant asleep next to me, a small urn on the bookcase and a dozen tubes of Colgate under the sink, I'd say no for the same reasons I did back then.

-Shamela

wheelsonthebus said...

i'd donate for research

Yias Yias Girl said...

We have 9 embroyos left over from our only and successful IVF attempt. Donations for us was out as I was over 40 when the IVF took place. That and it isn't something my husband would even consider. We still have another 6 months to decide, at this point I think we're sort of in denial that we have to make any decision about it. My husband would consider and probably prefer to donate for science, if possible. I still wonder if our family is complete; however, I'm 44 and actively wonder if I really want to have a child graduating from HS when I'm retiring. We need to come to terms with this soon.