Monday, November 26, 2012

February Themed Post: Decisions, decisions...

I have been writing this post for almost three months. So when the theme for the PAIL Monthly post was about future plans I thought it might be a good time to finally publish how we are trying to work out what the future plans of our one Frostie (frozen embryo). If you have been following my blog for a little while, you would know that I'm currently 34 weeks along through a surprise pregnancy after TTC for almost three years before our son was born.

James was a frozen embryo and we still currently have a frozen embryo 'on ice'. Since before we were married, BJ and I have always known that we would only want two children. And now with Trout on the way, we have finished our family. So as we get further along this pregnancy we have begun talking about Frostie number two.

In Australia (like most places) we have three options with frozen embryos. To thaw the embryo and let nature take its course. To donate the embryo to science or to donate the embryo to a couple. BJ and I had spoken about what to do with this embryo while I was pregnant with James and at 30 weeks found out I had placenta previa. As with placenta previa there is a chance of the c-section resulting in a hysterectomy. So the idea of me not being able to carry another child did cross our minds.

At the time, before we had seen, held, kissed or cuddled our son, we had both agreed to donate the embryo to science. Now with James talking, walking and laughing we could not imagine not giving our last frozen embryo at least a chance of life. Which means we have begun discussing donating the embryo to another couple.

But it's a huge decision. In the future there may be James' twin, our son or daughter walking around without us being a part of his or her life. It seems surreal. And I'm not sure how I feel about it. To be able to give another infertile couple the chance to have a baby is a wonderful thing. And the more I've read about people donating embryos as well as eggs and sperm separately and also reading about the other side where couple have received the donations, I could see myself making the decision to donate. But when I think about what we would miss out on as this embryo/baby/child/adult grows and what questions we may be asked of the child/adult if we ever meet them, it breaks my heart.

I'm not sure what is available in Australia in terms of 'open' donation. Whether we would get to meet the couple receiving the donation or could have contact with the child if the transfer is successful. And this is another part I'm not sure how I feel about. I probably would like to find out a little about the couple, where they live, what they do for a living, if they follow a religion etc. But I'm not sure I would want information about the transfer or the subsequent child if it was successful. It would be too heartbreaking to see a photo and see yourself or your partner in that child's face. Just another reminder about what you've lost by giving that embryo up.

Which is where we are at the moment, limbo. One day I'll hear a story about how a couple has received a donated embryo and are only weeks away from meeting their little one. And I'll think donation is the way to go and the next day I'll look at James and wonder if Trout will look the same as his/her big brother or be darker like BJ. And then I'll feel sad about Frostie two and how we may never know how they will look.

I'm in two frames of mind about finally making our decision. On one hand at least the decision will be made and I won't have to keep wonder about it. But on the other hand I kinda like being in limbo.


  1. Oh what a difficult decision! A nearly impossible decision and yet one that you and so many other couples have to make. We have one embryo frozen but due to a problem at the clinic, the doctors have informed us that it may survive the thaw but won't survive the transfer. (The same is true for all of the other embryos frozen around that time. An outrage, I know!). Anyways, we have talked a lot about embryo adoption and hope to head that way someday, even though we have a biological child of our own. We just love the idea of it vs. traditional adoption. But from the perspective of the family placing the embryo for That would be so tough. I wish clarity and wisdom for you as you navigate this really tough decision. May you and BJ be of one mind.

  2. What a very tough decision to make. I wish you the best and peace with whatever you decide to do!

  3. Phew, what an incredibly difficult decision. It's an amazing gift to give, but not an easy one for sure. Good luck deciding!

  4. It's a hard decision. I think waiting a bit longer is a good thing. It's not too expensive to store.