The Top 3 Things I Wish I Knew About Embryo Adoption
By: Dr. Rebecca Westbrook
Have you ever considered embryo adoption as a great option to grow a family? Like many women I wanted it all: higher education, a successful career, a beautiful house, to marry the love of life, two kids and a dog. Education, career and my beloved dog were added by my mid 20’s, the house and husband by my early 30’s, but children were elusive. My journey to motherhood was convoluted and complicated. Like many women I suffered from infertility issues. This is my story about how my husband and I created our family through embryo adoption.
I was raised in the deep south where sweet tea, church on Sunday and large family gatherings were common. Animals were my passion and I followed my dreams and became a veterinarian. I love being a veterinarian and helping all of the fur babies. My second love ( my husband ) took a little longer to find. I found my “Mister Right” through a Christian dating website at the ripe old
age of 33.
I always wanted a large family. I was one to hedge my bets. It was such an important concern that during premarital counseling my husband and I discussed adoption just in case we had problems starting a family. We tried for 5 years to have children, but did not have success. Three fertility specialists later, we had our first daughter when I was 39 years old with IVF. I knew I was running out of time due to my age if I wanted more children.
We tried IVF a second time soon after her birth and had only two poor quality embryos that did not take, so we decided to stop. It became apparent that the chances were very poor that we would be able to become pregnant with my eggs and we
could not justify continuing to spend the money on probable poor outcomes. When I was pregnant with our first daughter, we thought we were going to lose the pregnancy due to multiple complications. So, during this stressful time I researched other options to complete our family.
Through my research I found out about embryo adoption. My fertility specialist had never mentioned this. I loved the thought of adopting embryos and giving life through pregnancy. We were very fortunate that we were chosen by a couple to adopt their
embryos. Over the next three years, we were blessed with two more girls. Our family of 5 is complete with three wild and crazy little girls. There are 3 things I wish I had known about embryo adoption that know one told me.
1. Embryo adoption is a viable option to grow your family.
My OBGYN had never heard of embryo adoption. After a year of struggling to get pregnant, I was only offered medications to increase fertility or the option to go to a fertility specialist. My fertility specialist only offered medications, IU or IVF to help me get pregnant. Not once was embryo adoption mentioned. Embryos are normally formed when the sperm finds the egg in the mother’s womb, the egg is fertilized and continues to grow into a baby. Through IVF the sperm and egg meet outside the woman’s body in a lab to help increase the chance of fertilization and the embryo surviving to grow in the womb. Once the embryos grow to a certain size they are normally frozen until they are implanted in the mother’s womb (Frozen Embryo Transfer) and hopefully have a successful pregnancy. As science has improved the number of embryos left frozen in stasis after couples have completed their families is staggering. It is currently estimated that one million embryos are frozen in just the United States and that half of them could be available for adoption. It still frustrates me that we were denied information on embryo adoption from the medical community that could have helped me and my husband grow our family without all of the financial headaches and stress that fertility treatment incurs.
2. Embryo adoption can be one of the least expensive ways to grow your family.
By the time we had gone through testing and two rounds of IVF we had spent close to $45,000. While we had our first child on the first round of IVF, I found out later this is very unusual. It can take up to 3 rounds of IVF to have a successful pregnancy. I knew of one couple that had spent over $100,000 and never had a successful pregnancy. For many, the cost of fertility treatment or adoption may prevent them from pursuing their dreams of a family. Embryo Adoption may be their solution. We chose direct embryo adoption due to cost. I did research embryo adoption through an adoption agency, but the cost through them plus the cost of frozen embryo transfer made direct embryo adoption a better fit. I have compiled information on costs of different styles of adoption and put it in a helpful chart. The chart below compares domestic adoption, international adoption, IVF and embryo adoption through an agency and through direct embryo adoption. To compare even further I included the cost of IVF Treatment. Successful IVF treatment often requires more than one round. On the chart, the low end is 1 round of IVF, and the high end included 3 rounds of IVF. Did you know that Direct Embryo Adoption is 80% less than IVF and traditional adoption?
3. You get to experience all the joys of pregnancy and childbirth.
After you adopt and become pregnant through embryo adoption you will get to enjoy all the normal parts of pregnancy. I got to see if I was having a boy or girl on ultrasound. I gasped at the first hard kick and squirmed with each braxton hicks contraction. I was relieved to know my baby was not exposed to drugs, smoking or alcohol during pregnancy. Hearing the first cry after birth brought me tears of joy. Today I enjoy watching my girls grow. Each milestone is exciting because I know without embryo adoption my family would not have been complete. Please donate, don’t destroy your embryos. I am extremely thankful for the couple who donated their embryos to us instead of destroying them. If you have undergone IVF and have finished your family consider donating your embryos to another couple. Be a hero in someone else’s story.
ABOUT: Dr. Rebecca Westbrook currently resides in Dallas, Texas. She has been a practising veterinarian for over 20 years. She was one of the first in-home pet hospice and euthanasia house call practices in the Dallas area. She has been seeing house call patients for over 11 years. Dr. Westbrook has personally helped over 6000 patients with geriatric management and in-home euthanasia. Dr. Rebecca Westbrook is also a mother to three beautiful girls through IVF and embryo adoption. Her passion project is embryo adoption and embryo donor education. Embryo Adoption Project was started to help families who had finished IVF and had embryos available to donate, meet adoptive families by facilitating direct donor donation and adoption through profile matching. To learn more about embryo adoption you can view the short video on Youtube. Follow us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/embryoadoptionproject