Before my infertility journey, donating embryos sounded like such a foreign and odd thing to me. It was too science-y for me to fully grasp why someone would donate a ball of cells and why a person or couple would want to grow another person's embryos.
Yet, here I am six months after my husband and I donated our two remaining embryos from our multiple tremulous IVF cycles that ended with one very healthy baby girl. We spent the first five years of our married life in and out of doctor's offices riding the roller coaster of crossed fingers and heartbroken tears. When we got engaged, we both had a cookie-cutter vision of what our lives would be: 2.5 kids, dog, white picket fence. After five years of needles and tests, visions change.
Actually, my vision changed. As much as I wanted to give my daughter a sibling and try for a son, my brain would not let me set foot in my fertility clinic one more time. I could not open my heart to another failed cycle and could not let my body get poked and prodded like it was for so long. I felt like I got my prize: my daughter. She is healthy, happy, and makes me so proud. I decided that we are going to be a one-and-done family.
So that brought us to the question of what to do with our two remaining frozen embryos. During our last IVF cycle, we transferred one embryo and cryogenically froze two. Those two embryos have been "on ice" ever since.
We had a few choices. We could donate them to science, we could choose to terminate them, or we could donate them to a couple who is struggling to make viable embryos themselves. That basically meant we'd put our unborn babies up for adoption and allow them to be implanted into another woman for her and her partner to raise (and legally be their parents). We put so much effort and love into creating our embryos that we could not bear the thought of not giving them a chance to survive. We also knew the pain of wanting to be parents while your body isn't cooperating. Embryo donation sounded like a win-win to us.
Putting embryos up for adoption sounded so crazy to me when I was younger, and now it seems completely normal. These are our embryos that we want another couple to raise and be parents to. We had to waive our rights to the embryos, decide if we wanted to explore an open or closed adoption, and fill out information for couples to know more about us as the biological parents.
We signed the papers almost a year ago and not a week goes by when I don't think about my frozen babies. I wonder if their parents will have a conversation with them about their conception story. I wonder if my daughter will resent me when she finds out that she had a chance to have a sibling or two and I gave that away. I wonder what life would have been like if I tried for another. I wonder if the embryos are even viable! I wonder if the parents who raise them will be patient and kind. And yes, I wonder if I made the right choice. But it is amazing to feel such a connection to two balls of cells that are cryogenically frozen.
Deep down, I know my limits and know that I could not suck it up and inject any more medications into my body to conceive another child. I also know that I am enjoying being a mom to my daughter . . . and having an only child certainly has its benefits. And I have to believe that whoever adopts our embryos will raise their children in a way that every biological parent hopes they would — with love, compassion, and kindness.