There are a lot of factors that come in to play re: our options, namely finances, process, wait time, whether or not I truly want to be pregnant again, potential birth mother, sibling integration, and to a lesser degree familial perceptions of whether/how we build our family. While I am still conflicted (which is a high class problem given how long it took to arrive at the decision to proceed), we have two options and I’ve sorted through my version of the pros/cons here:
1. Embryo Donation
Pro: I would carry the baby and thus feeling a biological while not genetic connection. Given
that I would be pregnant, our son would have the experience of the baby growing in my
belly and me giving birth which I think he would more easily understand. Also, he and the
baby would have similar conception stories. And, it is relatively inexpensive. Finally, we’d
give life to a frozen embryo which I think is very cool. And, couples who are looking to
donate their embryos are coming from a good place, having suffered through their own
IF struggle, and are desirous of helping another couple out. The degree of openness
would be specified in the contract and agreed upon by both parties.
Con: Donated (and not adopted) embryos are hard to come by. They are what they are from an
ethnicity perspective so no picking/choosing like with DE. Success rates are not that high
(50% but improve if the embryos are blast stage and vitrified). I would be pregnant (which
we already know would require a cerclage and possible bed rest). Pregnancy at 44 is not
without risk beyond the incompetent cervix. And, we’ve recently switched to Kaiser so I’d
no longer have access (without out of pocket $$) to my trusted OB. There are no
guarantees of pregnancy let alone live birth.
2. Domestic Adoption
Pro: We’ve already identified the firm we’d go through. We’d be able to specify gender if we like.
I would not be pregnant. While generally having a biological child is a strike against a
prospective adoptive couple, that my husband I are both adopted (and into families with
a biological child) would counter balance our “attractiveness” to a birth mother. The firm’s
2009 average wait time was 6 months (although if we specify gender it would be longer, but
still, that is shorter than pregnancy!). If we wait it out, there will be a baby at the end.
Con: Birth mother and degree of openness. This is actually what stymies me
the most. The birth mother has found herself pregnant and had to make a gut
wrenching decision to place her unborn baby for adoption. Even under the best of
circumstances, I imagine it is an emotional and stressful experience. Cost:
$25K – $35K. We’d have a little more explaining to do initially to our 3 yr old son as to
how/why this baby came to us from another mother, but I know there are resources to
I have already signed up with one embryo donation web-site and have been corresponding with the owner. I posted our profile and have viewed the few donor profiles listed. One of the egg donation groups I belong to has also posted a profile of us should any of the members want to donate embryos. And, I had a phone consultation with my RE and he is supportive of the idea and in the year I’ve been away the clinic has begun an embryo matching program. I’m waiting to connect with the coordinator.
I contacted the domestic adoption firm we would use and got their 2009 stats. My relationship with the founder goes back to January, 2008, and he is always supportive without ever being pushy and I know believes that this would be a tremendously positive experience for us (I’ve met with him 5 times and my husband, twice).
There’s no reason that we couldn’t pursue both simultaneously. The adoption process has 4 phases and the initial phase where our profile would be shown to prospective birth mothers is about $8K. So, we could take a leap of faith and see which path presented us with what felt like was the best scenario for us.