Disclaimer and sensitive topic warning: I realize that to some, we are in a privileged position of having more embryos than we can use. Part of me hesitated to post about this, but it’s a tough decision, and I need to talk about it to work through it, come to a decision, and be confident in that decision. I’m not soliciting advice, though if you’ve been in this position, I would welcome you sharing your perspective on how you made the decisions you made.
We received a letter from the long-term embryo storage facility that my clinic uses that our two remaining embryos were recently transferred back to the facility, and that our annual storage fee would be due soon. Always mindful of wasteful spending, my initial thought was, “Do we need to store them?” We already decided that we weren’t going to use them. If this pregnancy works out, we’re done building our family. If it doesn’t, we don’t have it in us to start over again. Basically, I started to push us into making a decision about what to do with them NOW, before the fee is due.
I called the facility to inquire about our options. As expected, they are:
- Donate anonymously to another hopeful parent
- Donate to research
I always thought I would lean more toward the donate to another parent option, but the more I think about it, the more unsettled I feel. I know I would always wonder if it worked, and even though I would not think of that child as “our” child, the thought of the possibility of our biological offspring out there somewhere…. I don’t know. I think I would be overly preoccupied with the idea.
After speaking with the storage facility, the donation route is rather involved. My husband and I would have to have physicals and blood work, complete a 3-generation medical history, and have a phone session with a social worker. All told, a 3-6 month process, and I’m not so sure we would even “pass,” since I know nothing about my grandparents and their medical histories. Plus, both of our families have a history of mental illness. I understand the necessity of all of that, but my gut reaction is that I don’t want to go through all of it. Then again, it could make someone’s dreams come true. I know there’s a chance the embryos may not even survive the thawing process for transfer, or they may not implant, or the ultimate result may be miscarriage. But at least they would have a chance.
Donating to research is an easier process. It’s the option I’m most comfortable with at the moment. I understand that ultimately the embryos would be destroyed, but hopefully they would first contribute to furthering stem cell research.
The only thing I’m sure of is that I don’t want them to be disposed of before they have a chance to make some kind of contribution to the world. Is that crazy? I don’t think it is, considering what we went through to make them. The emotional and financial toll…. They should be put to some kind of use.
Of course, we don’t have to decide anything right now. Sure, we could save a few bucks, but, honestly, the storage fee isn’t significant. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to what we shelled out for IVF and FET. Not to mention, it’s a small price to pay to ensure that we have the time to make the right decision for us. In theory, we could pay to keep them stored pretty much indefinitely, if we wanted to.