Hello, again! It’s been some time, hasn’t it? Hope you’ve all been well. Baby, mom, dad, and all family are doing great!
We are excited to say that we’re donating our remaining embryos to two other families! One is a done-deal, papers signed, cycle in progress. The other donation is still in progress, as far as all the background bureaucracy. I met the families through a women’s embryo donation/adoption Facebook group (it’s super special secret! But if anyone reading this is a woman and a donor, recipient, or potential donor/recipient, I could request the moderators send an invite. Just let me know!).
I posted a profile on the site and waited to see
who might be interested in the embryos. I’m not sure if this is true, per se, but it seems as though there are more potential recipients than there are donors, so we got a decent amount of interest. It was really hard to have to choose and turn people down, and in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to choose between two families. But, we had nine embryos, each of the families only wants to have one more child, and so we ended up deciding to choose BOTH families and split them.
The two ladies and I have gotten to know each other via Facebook now and speak often, so that’s been a very positive experience, and we all want the same level of openness between our families. I think I wrote before about how my husband ultimately decided to donate and I was surprised that he eventually chose the option of open donation. I actually never really questioned why (because I preferred that option, too), since at first he’d said he wasn’t sure he’d be comfortable with that. But it seems like, once we actually had the kid, he might have started to feel more inclined to the idea of our kid knowing genetic siblings, and maybe he also had a desire to know his genetic offspring (I’m saying “offspring” because don’t know if I should say genetic “children,” honestly… I kind of wonder whether recipients are bothered by that kind of terminology, since any resulting children are actually their children).
It is quite a process, though, particularly because one set of recipient families is in Canada, and they have different (and stricter) laws than the United States. The other recipients are in a different state, and although that’s somewhat more clear-cut, every state in the U.S. has different laws, too, so we basically had to have the legal contract written by a lawyer in the state with the strictest laws, just to make sure all bases were covered. And, finally, one of the recipients is traveling and using my clinic (which is awesome, because we can all meet her!) – but, although my clinic has done embryo donation before, they’ve never done an open donation. The contracts and such need to be different for that, so they were starting basically from scratch as far as what their policies were going to be.
Hopefully it all works out for these families! It all does make me wonder – how the heck are we going to explain to Steely all these non-traditional genetic connections out there? Explaining the very basics probably won’t be as difficult. We have all those kids’ books about donor conception. My favorite so far is “A Tiny Itsy Bitsy Gift of Life,” the one with the rabbit family. In a nutshell, the two rabbits want a baby rabbit, and they demonstrate how making a rabbit involves two pieces that fit together (they’re represented by little blobs the rabbits hold). The dad rabbit has one of the pieces, but the mom rabbit doesn’t have one. Then this Mother Hubbard-esque lady rabbit with a gajillion baby rabbits shows up at their door and is like “I have lots of pieces, you can have this one!” And mom and dad rabbit put them together and make a little baby bunny!
So I guess we can build on something like that… it’s going to take some extra building. For the anonymous part, I can say that sometimes the woman with the extra pieces doesn’t meet the mom, but gives them to a doctor to give to the mom (some of the other books involve doctors). And if the woman has lots of pieces, sometimes she give them to other families, too – we know the woman who gave us the piece to make him gave them to another family. I could tell him that we actually got lots of the pieces from the woman, and they were matched with lots of Dad’s pieces, so we ended up with some extras that we didn’t grow into babies… so we gave them to some other families so they could have babies. (And hopefully we can end that with “And they did!”). Maybe the easiest thing to explain will be his known half-siblings since I’m sure he’ll have some level of contact with their mom (who just loooooooves the kid, haha. Hell, I bet she’d babysit him if we asked). I can explain that his dad used to be married to her, and the kid’ll have someone concrete to associate them with. Maybe that’d be a good transition into the more complex stuff. It’s a lot for a kid to manage, I’m sure, so I think it’ll have to be rolled out in bits and pieces. Tiny itsy bitsy pieces!