After receiving certain infertility diagnoses, fertility doctors will often recommend IVF with donor egg, donor sperm, or both. This can be a major setback to some families—especially those who have always dreamed of having a genetic child. Couples are often left dumbfounded on what to do next.
First, you should always take time off from fertility treatments and grieve the loss of your genetic child. It seems like a pointless concept, but it is a very true and real circumstance you need to come to terms with. This webinar may help when trying to process the news.
After processing the grief, couples can begin to shift from focusing solely on their desire for a genetic child and more towards parenting their future child. Should you move forward with egg or sperm donation? Or should you consider embryo adoption? Sometimes couples feel that egg or sperm donation is uncomfortable due to one parent being genetically related and the other not. With embryo adoption, neither parent is genetically related to the child, but you are still the parents.
Whether one parent is genetically related or not, there are still other questions which loom over the decision: Will the child have questions regarding their origins? Will you have enough answers and information for the child in the future?
If you opt for egg or sperm donation, your information on the donor may be extremely limited. When you adopt embryos through an agency you will have options, answers, and an ability to ensure you have information available to for your future adopted child. You can choose the level of communication with which you are comfortable. Some matches are just naturally more open than others. However, you must be prepared that you might not have all the information that your future child may desire.
As many as 50% of donated embryos available for adoption were created with egg or sperm donors.
What does this mean? It means that regardless of communication with the genetic family, you may also have embryos related to a second genetic family. This comes as a surprise to almost everyone pursuing embryo adoption.
Many couples who pursue embryo adoption assume the child they will have will be genetically related to the donors only. The fact that the embryos could also be related to another family can be a bit of a shock for couples who have already said no to anonymous egg or sperm donors previously.
Like many decisions surrounding family building, it’s okay to slow down and take time to ask important questions regarding this matter: Are you okay with waiting for match from a placing family who didn’t use an anonymous donor? Or would you be more comfortable with a quicker matching time?
The reality of the situation is that adopting embryos created with donor genetics is workable. There is still a genetic connection through the genetic siblings to your children and (more often than not) through one biological placing parent.
Next week, we will discuss the pros and cons of adopting embryos who were created with egg and/or sperm donors. We will also discuss different ways to tell your child’s story and different resources available to children who were conceived via donor genetics.