You've heard of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), right? A couple cannot concieve naturally, or is having difficulty, for whatever reason may be, so they medically ... well, I'm not going to explain this very well, so I'm going to borrow what americanpregnancy.org has to say about it:
IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the process is combined with a procedure known as embryo transfer which involves physically placing the embryo in the uterus.
Now, after a couple has done this, oftentimes they are left with additional embryos that will be frozen for future use. If a couple decides their family is complete later on down the road, they have a few different options for their embryos.
- Destroy them
- Donate them to science (which destroys them)
- Let them remain frozen indefinately
- Donate them to be adopted
Enter a couple like Jerome and I. We are unable to conceive naturally, unable to even do IVF together, though I am able to carry a child. Therefore, embryo adoption was a possibility for us. Embryo adoption is like traditional adoption in the sense that we are not the genetic parents of the child, but still the parents nonetheless, AND we have the opportunity to experience pregnancy.
There are two ways to adopt embies; annonymous or open. Annonymous means you know little or nothing of the donor family, and certainly don't have contact with them. Openly means it gives you the ablitity to have a realtionship with the donor family, just as in traditional open adoption. There was really no other way for us. It had to be an open adotpion. When we thought and prayed about it, and put ourselves in our potential child's shoes, we had to have an open adoption. There had to be the ability for, if nothing else, our child to know its genetic roots, siblings, genetic parents, etc., when he/she felt the need.
There are very few places in the country that give the option of OPENLY adopting another couple's embies, and the one we chose was the NEDC, in Knoxville, TN. The staff there is amazing, and once we had our home study completed (it is treated like a traditional adoption, therefore requiring a home study of each couple), they went to work matching us up with couples. Once we had matches, we were then presented to each couple for their approval or, or, non-approval? That sounds harsh, but I don't mean it that way at all. Letting another couple adopt your embies is a big deal! We had to pass inspection with them, haha, so to say.
We were giving the stamp of approval by three amazing couples, who have each blessed us in big ways. The willingness to allow us to adopt their embies, their potential children, is HUGE, and I will never, ever, ever be able to express my gratitude and love enough. The way these couples make me feel is indescribable, to say the least. More to come on them down the road!
The next step for us was the actual transfer of the embies. My body is poked, prodded and prepped to house the little ones, to hopefully grow and flourish. I've lost track of the number of needles either taking blood from me or pumping drugs into me. I cringe at the thought of each one, but at the same time am beyond thankful!!! Once I'm ready for take off, we head off to the clinic for the process I like to call, "fill your bladder til it's about to burst while I make you feel like I've poured fire in your innards at the same time as I prod around inside of you and push down on top of you while you hold your pee and lay perfectly still" ... they just call it an embryo transfer, fits better on the paperwork.
Once they are nestled in there, you wait. Wait for the results. And pray. Pray, pray, pray. It's a crazy, but wonderful experience.
I hope I have given you a better idea of this whole Embryo Adoption journey that we're on. I tried, at least! Please, don't ever hesitate to ask me any questions!