A curious fact, is that the majority of IVF couples decide to destroy their remaining embryos once they feel they have completed their family. Outside of the destroy option, the remaining choices of what to do with leftover embryos also include:
- Donating them to another couple
- Donating them for research
At the risk of being controversial, I think this is a poor reflection of society today. What I find surprising is that people who have experienced the hardship of infertility and then successfully conceive, are often unwilling to share their fortunes with others by donating their embryos. Either we are being selfish or fearful of the repercussions of choosing the donate option. Commons fears in relation to embryo donation include:
- The child coming to look for their biological parents at some point in the future
- The child suddenly having a relationship with half brother or half sister
I am not trying to paint myself as a Saint. I do however feel that I have a unique perspective and I am not scared of the consequences of donation. My unique perspective really comes from the fact that I am adopted. Embryo donation is a lot like adoption.
There are some really good benefits of being adopted. I have had a wonderful life and have a wonderful mother and father. I also have a biological mother and father. Whilst I will never know my father, I have met my biological mother and her two children. I am eternally grateful to her for the simple fact that she did not have an abortion despite the circumstances of how I came to be conceived. By giving me up, she made two people who were unable to have kids (my parents) very happy. She helped create me and I am glad to be alive and am happy.
Of course, my mother was upset when I went to look for my birth mother but she has long accepted this. Since she has raised and loved me from a baby, she will never be replaced with my biological mother. My biological mother and I also have a special relationship but it is not the same as the relationship I have with my adopted mum. Meeting my natural mother some 20 years ago was a blessing – not just for me but also for her.
In meeting her, my biological mum was able to release the guilt she felt for giving me away. She felt reassured in her decision and was pleased that I was brought up well and was happy. For my part, I was able to get some answers to some questions I had. I also managed to form a strong relationship with my biological sister and was even a bridesmaid at her wedding. In all, it has been a win win situation for both our families.
When I look at my life this way, I would certainly be happy to donate any embryos I had left over once my own family had been completed. Of course, my husband has the opposite viewpoint to me and so we not be going down this path. I respect his choices and anyone else who makes similar choices even if they are not my views.
As a compromise, we will donate any of our spare embryos to research in the hope that the research will help couples experience pregnancy in the future. I hope my story however does give readers some food for thought regardless of what choices you make. I am also happy to answer any questions about being adopted if that helps people in making their decisions.