Friday, January 19, 2007

Embryo Donation - Should we?

I got the following letter today:

"Hi there. I'm from Australia and wondering if anyone can help. My husband and I conceived two beautiful girls through IVF and then had a gorgeous son naturally. We are now in the unenviable position of having embryos we cannot use. We are thinking of donating them to a childless couple but are unsure. We would love to hear some stories from people who have donated embryos before. We have heard lots from recipients. Thanks"

Got a story or thought to share?

2 comments:

Dr. Rona Michelson said...

It seems to me that there are at least three issues with embryo donation.

The first is the desire for the embryo to develop into a baby. That is perfectly normal.

The second is the knowledge that by donating the embryo, the couple could possibly be giving another family a gift that no one else will give them. Because the couple have had fertility problems, they know how painful they are and enabling someone else to have a child is an enormously generous gift. That is something that they are uniquely able to appreciate.

But the third issue is the question of how will the couple feel later. Will the couple be content believing that somewhere their child is alive and happy and being raised by someone else? Will they be looking into the eyes of children on the street wondering "is that my child?" And then, how will the couple address the issue with the children they are caring for? As politicians find out all too painfully, there is no such thing as a secret. Even if every member of the family who knows is well-intentioned AND remembers it is a secret, there are still others who might have heard of them considering the donation. There are hospital personnel who might recognize them on the street. There are probably a hundred ways the "secret" will come out and that means that children have to be told something. The most destructive part of family secrets for children is that when they find out they lose trust in their parents. So hiding important things from children is usually a really bad idea. Of course there are exceptions. How the parents will deal with the donation of the embryo in coming years is a question that they should address fully before they make the commitment.

ivf2women said...

I've been writing a lot about my search for recipients for my left-over embryos at http://embryodonation.blogspot.com