This is the first chapter of my Embryo Donation Guide. Read an introduction and get a table of contents, with links, on the Embryo Donation: A Practical Guide page.
In life, there are little decisions, medium decisions, and big decisions.
Donating embryos is not little. It’s not medium either. It’s big. Like, really BIG.
Right off the bat, you need to know this: no matter what you decide, choosing a fate for your embryos is uncomfortable. You’ll feel uneasy, unsure, and you’ll doubt yourself. It’s totally normal.
Many, many embryos get discarded simply because their owners cannot bear to make a decision on their fate. Clinics discard them when storage fees go unpaid, or when the female owner ages out of the program.
Procrastination is uncool. Letting someone else discard them by default is uncool. If anything, I hope this chapter helps you make a decision, no matter what that may be, long before procrastination rears its ugly head.
Carve it in stone: No. More. Babies. For. Me.
You should only go down the road of deciding your embryos’ fate when you and your spouse are sure—and I mean really, really Shrek-sure, down to your bone marrow—that your family is complete.
After my first baby, I claimed I was satisfied. I had actually sold my husband on fatherhood under the guise of “one and done” as far as babies go. Deep down, however, I knew I was lying to myself. Like, really lying. Pinocchio-style.
Luckily my husband was easily convinced to have a second baby. Now we are a sweet little foursome: mommy, daddy, sister, brother. I’m done building my family and it feels really good.
How do you know when you’re done-done, for real? If you get wistful when you see a glowing pregnant girl, is that a sign you’re not ready to pop a cork in it? Not exactly. It is possible to be envious of something without actually wanting it.
I’ll admit that when I see a shiny newborn, I feel a little pang in the ovaries. But my next thought is, “OMG, I am so glad to be done with that stage.” The stage of super sleep deprivation, diaper blowouts twice a day, and the witching hour screaming. I look at my toddlers and thank my lucky stars I’m past those days.
I think about my deliveries—the first and second most empowering experiences of my life—and I get wistful. I would love to have that experience again. But then I remember that pregnancy comes with a first and third trimester, and they’re miserable. Nausea and no sleep and getting up to pee a bajillion times a night…and after delivery comes the exhausting, mind-numbing newborn stage, followed by 18 years of child-rearing…
Nah, no more new humans. I’m good with two.
So what are my options?
Once you’re done, you have a few possibilities for your embryos:
- Discard them
- Do a sympathetic transfer
- Donate them for research
- Donate to an infertile couple
Discarding is pretty straightforward. It’s throwing them in the trash, tossing them in the garbage, yada yada. You get the drift. You might choose to do this if you simply cannot handle any of the other options.
A sympathetic transfer is an embryo transfer done at a time in your cycle when you cannot get pregnant (i.e., your lining is too thin). Some women choose this option when they don’t want to discard or donate. I think it sounds kind of weird and strange, but maybe that’s just me.
Donating embryos to scientific research is one way for your embryos to go to good use. Usually the research is fertility-related, which is pretty awesome. Your donation might help future iVF couples to have higher success rates. There are some researchers doing stem cell studies, but those are fairly hard to come by. Donating for research is a practical option, and does some good for mankind in the process.
The fourth option, donation, is what we chose. Allow me to elaborate.
Convince me: why should I donate?
I’m writing this book because I now believe the fourth option—donating to an infertile couple—is the best one. I say ‘now believe’ because I didn’t always feel this way.
Back in our pre-kid days, my husband and I wanted to give our embryos for stem-cell research. A noble cause that could save lives. Then our two little miracles arrived. Pardon the cliché, but these two small humans changed our lives completely. When I realized we could give that same phenomenal gift to another struggling couple, the choice became very clear.
I worried about telling Nathan that I’d had a change of heart. What if he wasn’t on board? I waited several weeks, until one night as we were turning in for the evening and I felt brave enough to broach the subject. Our daughter was about six months old at the time.
“So…,” I started. “I’ve been thinking about the whole leftover-embryos-for-stem-cell-research thing. And I’m not so sure I can do it now.”
He sighed, and I couldn’t read the emotion behind it. Was it frustration with me? Turns out, it was a sigh of relief. He’d been thinking the same thing.
“Neither can I. She’s just such a little person now,” he said. “If we do have any left over when this is done, I want to give them to people who can’t have their own babies. It just seems like the right thing to do.”
I completely agreed. We were on the same page; I was so relieved.
The decision crystallized further when we asked ourselves, “Can we live with our decision if we don’t donate them?”
Here’s a hypothetical: I’m a member of the National Bone Marrow Registry, so if someone needs bone marrow and I’m the match, I will donate marrow. It’s a no-brainer. Someone needs it, and I have more than I need.
If I said no to donating marrow, I’d have to live with that guilt forever. I know it’s not the same as donating an embryo. For starters, the person getting the marrow doesn’t end up with your eyes and your husband’s nose. But that’s beside the point. Marrow or embryos or a kidney—in my view, they’re all in the same bucket.
If we didn’t donate our embryos, we’d be dealing with guilt for the rest of our lives. Every time I met an infertile couple, or read a news story about someone struggling through iVF, I’d beat myself up for having let our embryos go to some other use when they could be changing someone’s life—forever—for the better.
When I’m faced with a difficult choice, I always go back to my values. Being a good wife, mother, daughter, and sister are at the top of my list of values. Next on the list is being generous with others, and treating them as I would want to be treated.
Donating is the right thing to do for our fellow man, and for humanity. My values made the decision for me. Even if donating doesn’t turn out the way I had hoped, and even if I could go back and do it all over again, I don’t think I would make a different choice.
Parting with your Baby Starter KitsTM
Donating is not easy just because you’re certain that your baby-making days are through. Knowing what you’ll do with your embryos doesn’t make saying goodbye to them any easier.
Early on in our embryo donation process, I joined a Facebook group for Embryo Donors. Many women there talked about how emotional they were at each step of donating. There were tears when contracts were signed, and long periods of having second thoughts. Even bouts of depression, and in one case, a complete change of heart where a donor reneged on an agreement to donate to another couple.
These heartbroken women (it’s almost all women in these groups) kept coming back to one thing: they were struggling to part with their embryos because they felt like they were giving away their children.
At the time, I was baffled at these reactions. I wasn’t very attached to my embryos. I didn’t feel much ownership, and I definitely didn’t think about them as “children,” much less my children. Just little expectant clusters of cells in a freezer nine miles away. Basically, just a few Baby Starter Kits.
There is a spectrum for how attached you feel to your embryos. On one end there are couples who have zero emotional connection to their embryos. They are happy to see them go to good use, but they wouldn’t bat an eye at a baby with their DNA being raised by another couple.
At the other end of the spectrum, some couples feel very emotionally connected to each and every embryo they created. They think about them every day, and will think of them until they take their final breaths. For these parents, every choice, from discarding to donating, is infinitely harder. It feels like removing a piece of their own heart.
Jill N. is a donor mom who, after many years of soul-searching, has decided to donate her embryos to an infertile couple. Without question, I’d say she’s on the emotionally connected end of the spectrum.
I asked Jill what led her to donate. “I love my children more than I ever thought you could love anything or anyone. My husband feels the same. We love our embryos and the potential they have. We love them so much we have to let them go. I think of them everyday just like I do my children and I know they will be in my thoughts as I take my final breaths here in this life. They were meant to be here but just not for us.”
Where you sit on the spectrum can also change in an instant. Here’s Jill again:
“[Before we started iVF] I had assumed we would donate any remaining embryos to science. I remember feeling like that was no big deal at the time. Well times have changed. I could never have known what a huge decision this is and the impact of this decision. Before our FET(1)Frozen embryo transfer we were given a picture of our blastocyst they were implanting. The blastocyst that became our son Adam. That changed everything for me.”
I personally experienced an instant spectrum jump as well. I went through all of the up-front donation process without a bit of sadness about giving up our Baby Starter Kits. I was excited to find the perfect recipient couple.
But when I learned that my recipient was pregnant, the news gave me a punch in the gut that I didn’t see coming. Right then and there, I leaped up the spectrum toward the emotionally attached end. If I was a 1 or a 2 on a 10-point scale before, I’d just become a 5 or 6 in the space of about a minute.
Best I can explain, it was my survival cavewoman instincts kicking in. I believe we’re all hardwired to protect our gene pool, even when logic says otherwise. The moment my embryo became someone else’s positive pregnancy test, it all got real in a hurry. (Read more about the gut-punch.)
No matter where you lie on the spectrum, donation is possible. It may change how you donate, and to whom, but it’s doable.
I won’t say it’s easy, though. I’ve yet to meet someone who said it was easy. Pardon the clichè, but our proudest moments rarely are.
Giving up your babies… or are you?
Early on in this process a friend asked me, “Are you really giving your embryos up for adoption?”
I struggled with that question. I don’t particularly care for the term “give up.”
Giving up is what happens after trying and failing at a task. Giving up is when you don’t want to try any more. It’s a descriptor for lack of motivation or hopelessness.
I’m not giving up—or giving up on—anything.
I am, however, “giving” something to another couple—the gift of a baby. There’s nothing better. I don’t lack motivation to be a parent. I simply had the good luck of creating more embryos than I needed. It’s not something I could control. No iVF parent can.
I’ve never felt that it was practical to discard them just because the decision of what to do with them makes me uneasy.
I’m giving my remaining embryos to a family in need. Donating them. Just like you’d donate a section of liver if someone needed it. So I will remove the term “give up” from this whole discussion.
Three little embryos, jumpin’ on the bed
We ended up with three embryos to donate. Three completely unexpected leftover embryos, I might add.
First, a tiny science lesson that you probably don’t need, but it’s worth saying. Your first try at iVF with your own eggs and sperm is called a “fresh” cycle. That’s the term for transferring one or more embryos in the same menstrual cycle as you retrieved and fertilized them. The process starts with retrieving eggs from the woman’s ovaries, then mixing them with Dad’s sperm to create a set of fertilized embryos. Finally, you transfer one or more and wait and see if it worked.
The embryos transferred have never been frozen, hence the “fresh” terminology. If you had more embryos than you needed from your fresh cycle, they’ll be cryogenically frozen. Later transfers of those embryos are called frozen cycles.
We did three transfers to get our two babies: one fresh cycle transfer and two frozen transfers.
Our fresh cycle failed even before the pregnancy test. It was devastating.
The success rate for a woman of my age was 74%, and I hung all my hopes on that number. It made the negative pregnancy test ten times worse, because I truly wasn’t expecting bad news. I was early in the iVF game, and naïve. That experience completely changed my outlook on iVF and assisted reproduction, from one of blind optimism to pessimism. It’s a sad moment when you stop expecting success and steel yourself for failure instead.
Now back to the science lesson. After eggs and sperm combine to create an embryo in iVF, the embryos are allowed to grow, or culture, in the lab. They’re transferred back into the mother either three or five days later. The day of transfer depends on how the embryos are doing; if they are not robustly dividing and growing, a third-day transfer is preferred, because they assume that an embryo will do better in its natural environment (the uterus) than a petri dish. That said, these third-day transfers have a higher rate of failure.
When embryos are performing well in the lab, they’re allowed to culture for five days, until they become blastocysts, and a fifth-day transfer is done. These have a higher success rate than third-day transfers.
When you harvest a lot of eggs and many of them fertilize, it’s common to immediately freeze a bunch to save for later. They do this at “pronuclear” stage, where an embryo consists of a single cell with two nuclei (one from mom, one from dad). You can freeze embryos at three or five days, too.
We harvested 20 eggs. Eleven of them fertilized, so the lab froze a handful of pronuclear embryos right away.
The remaining embryos grew in little petri dishes. When it came time for the transfer, two had stopped dividing and had to be discarded. (When they stop dividing, they’re a lost cause. They won’t become a baby, so there’s nothing more that can be done with them.)
But five of them were dividing well, and were declared viable embryos.
We transferred one fresh blastocyst and put four blastocysts (commonly called “blasts”—isn’t that an awful word for something so delicate?) into frozen storage along with the pronuclear embryos frozen a few days earlier. That gave us a total of eight embryos for future attempts. Good thing, too—we needed them.
After the fresh cycle failed, we tried again: our first frozen transfer was scheduled for early December.
When the big day came, we were just minutes away from the transfer procedure. I was gowned up and lying on the table (under a warm blanket, mmm!), nervous as hell, when the embryologist came in with the report card. The news could range from really bad (“None of the embryos made it”), really good (“We’ve got one amazing embryo for transfer and you still have seven remaining!”), or anywhere in between.
The report was mediocre: the lab thawed two pronuclear embryos and cultured them in the lab. They crashed and burned. They thawed two blastocysts, trying for a viable embryo. Only one looked like it could go the distance. They gave me the option to transfer one or both. We voted for just one.(2)My husband and I are committed single-embryo-transfer people. We have neither the desire nor courage for twins, and neither of us wanted to sign me up for a high-risk pregnancy that could endanger my life or the baby’s life(s) as well. Double embryo transfer is common, but the risks involved in twin pregnancies are often overlooked. For example: more twin pregnancies end in miscarriage. Sixty percent of twins are born prematurely, which can come with brain bleeds, heart failure, blindness, permanent lung scarring, sepsis, meningitis, and a whole host of scary shit. Preeclampsia is twice as likely with twin pregnancies, as is gestational diabetes (which puts mom at higher risk of diabetes later in life). It’s one thing to have twins because nature split an embryo, or your body released two eggs. It’s quite another to transfer two highly graded embryos because you believe it’s “two for the price of one.” (The NICU is not cheap.) A singleton pregnancy is safest for mom and baby. Please talk to your doctor about single embryo transfer before you’re put on the spot. That stressful moment is no time to make a difficult decision that could impact your health and that of the beautiful baby you’ve worked so hard for.
Women going through infertility treatment are as superstitious as baseball players. Like a pitcher who wears the same socks to maintain a winning streak, we’ll try anything that might tempt the gods in our favor.
A few days before my transfer, a co-worker gave me some advice. “Name the embryo on its way in,” she said. “It sounds crazy, but that’s what finally did it for us.”
On the table during the transfer, legs splayed in those awful stirrups(3)They use a special set of stirrups for these procedures, and they’re nothing like the “put your heels here” kind you know and love from your pelvic exams. These hold your legs at the knee, so you are pretty much forced to abandon all modesty and soldier on., I declared the embryo’s name “Peanut.” The doctors and ultrasound tech laughed. I added one more thing: “Oh, and this embryo is a girl.” I didn’t know how, but somehow I just knew.
A few weeks later we’d learn that our transfer was successful and we were pregnant.
We had spent four embryos to get Peanut. Four embryos remained. I figured we were assured at least one viable embryo from those four.
Fast-forward about two years. I’m on the table again, this time with a fifteen-month-old daughter at home, trying to make her a younger sibling. I was very nervous to hear the embryologist’s report. If we used all our remaining embryos and failed, we’d have to start all over again with another egg retrieval. The thought of pumping myself full of hormones again was nerve-wracking. I was expecting them to say we’d once again used all four embryos, but had a single one good enough to transfer. I was about to be very surprised.
The embryologist walked in with a big smile and handed me a piece of paper. I saw two embryos pictured on it, both looking like something out of a textbook, perfectly round and gorgeous. The report was the equivalent of an A+ with a big red star. Two pronuclear embryos had not only survived the thaw, their cells had divided like rabbits in the lab over the last five days. Both were highly graded and viable.
I chose number one for transfer and asked what our options were with number two. They recommended we re-freeze the second embryo. The idea of refreezing was fairly new, and there weren’t a lot of data on pregnancy rates. Still, I preferred that over discarding, especially given its high grade. Back in the freezer number two went while number one was transferred. (I named it “Squeak” and declared it a boy; once again, I just had a feeling.) Eight and a half months later, our son was born.
How many do I need to have to donate?
That left three embryos for donation, which was pretty good luck: most donations consist of three or more embryos.
If you have one or two remaining embryos, you may struggle to find recipients willing to roll the dice with your offering. Combine all the shots and the crazy-causing hormones leading up to a transfer with a 65% chance that embryos survive thawing, and it all makes a single or double embryo donation a little trickier.
“Saving” Embryos, Preserving Life, and Other Questionable Vocabulary
For some iVF couples, a religious belief system motivates donating. The more devout of these couples claim that donating is a requirement based on their belief that life begins at conception.
I struggle with this claim. If you dig down into the science of iVF (which, if you have gone through it, you likely did), you know that while life can begin at conception, it’s a roll of the dice if it actually will.
Not all fertilized eggs will create pregnancies, and not all implanted embryos will persevere to a live birth. That’s scientific reality. Embryos are clusters of quickly multiplying cells. Sometimes, they just stop multiplying. It can happen in the lab or the uterus. Genetic defects, incompetent cervix, and immunological disorders cause miscarriage, and sometimes there isn’t an identifiable reason at all. It happens.
Donating or adopting embryos is absolutely not a guarantee you will be preserving life. The most you can hope for is to give your embryos a better chance at life.(4)My husband wants me to make a “Han Solo in carbonite” reference here, but I’m not sure exactly what that means.
It’s also incorrect for adoptive couples to think that adopting an embryo is saving it from being discarded. That’s never how it happens. No family is figuratively perched over the garbage, about to discard their embryos, when a benevolent couple bursts through the door, shouting “No! Don’t do it! We’ll take them!”
There are many more adoptive families than donors. Virtually every embryo that’s up for donation will find a home(5)I have heard of a couple of cases where donors couldn’t find takers, due to a close family relative with genetic diseases, like schizophrenia.. Some adoptive couples may prefer to believe that they’re “saving” embryos, but they aren’t. The people doing the saving are the donors. We are the ones who make the choice between discarding, research, and donation.
Adoptive parents don’t save embryos. Donors do.
I’ll get off my soapbox now. 🙂
Control Freak, DEFCON 1
Donating requires you to accept a certain level of uncertainty about the future.
So how will you know if you can handle it? Start by taking an honest look at yourself and your Control Freak Level.
If you look in the dictionary under “Type A Personality,” I’m fairly certain my picture is there. I do everything I can to exert a little control on the chaotic world around me. I admit it, and even if I didn’t, my husband would tell you: I’m a control freak.
For our donation, however, I have had to come to terms with loss of control over certain things. By its very nature, donation does not give you a right to dictate how the adoptive parents do… well, almost everything.
Embryo donation is not the same as giving a living baby for adoption. You are not finding a wonderful home for your own child or even an identical copy of your existing child(ren)(6)I was a little torn about donating because I’d look at my beautiful babies and think, “I can’t give one of these two to another family!” But then it occurred to me: had I used our embryos to have a third child, it wouldn’t be an exact copy of Peanut or Squeak. He (or she) would be his own person. He’d look and act uniquely and have a personality all his own. Once I realized that, the idea of donating became easier to handle.. You are finding a deserving home for a potential human life, one that you gave its start.
As you probably know, donating does not guarantee that the embryo will become a baby. But you should also recognize that donating doesn’t guarantee that the embryo will be transferred. Many things can happen between thawing and birth, and as a donor, you need to relinquish control over all of that and more.
If you feel you could only donate embryos to a couple who agrees to practice attachment parenting and never uses Cry-it-Out sleep training, you’re not really a good candidate for this. It’s impractical—maybe even unethical—to put stipulations on your donation that keep the recipients from making the decisions that are right for their family. Here’s an example to illustrate.
I met a donor mom in a Facebook group who was struggling with wording in the contract that said the recipient could terminate a pregnancy that resulted from the donated embryos. The woman was donating “to preserve life,” she said, and claimed the termination clause flew in the face of that wish.
But look at the other side of the situation. Forbidding the recipient family from terminating is a huge overstepping of boundaries. Terminating isn’t a decision that any infertile couple would ever make lightly. Sometimes it’s tragically necessary. For example: imagine a twin pregnancy where one twin has a major health issue (one it cannot survive, like anencephaly—where the skull fails to form). Most doctors would suggest terminating because the baby whose brain is incompatible with life puts the healthy twin at risk of death. Imagine if, in this heartbreaking situation, the family cannot save the life of their healthy baby because of a clause in their embryo donation contract. Perhaps it wasn’t the donor’s intention, but by trying to exercise control, she could create a tragedy instead.
There are many other horrific situations where termination is a heartbreaking yet prudent option. Classic Potter Syndrome. Missing organs. Brain calcification. It’s impossible to list them all, and in most termination cases, it’s not one, but multiple disorders facing them.
No one is going to adopt an embryo—which is no easy task—just to terminate it at the sign of a minor complication. People seeking out embryos have often exhausted all their options for starting a family. They treat the offering as sacred, and are heartbroken if something goes wrong.
If you cannot let go of control, donating is not a good fit for you. Spending years or decades resenting another family’s parenting choices will make donating more painful than rewarding. Aside from my own mother, I don’t want to justify my parenting choices to anyone, thankyouverymuch, and adoptive parents don’t want to justify theirs, either.
Do you know who would sign up for that kind of overlording? A couple desperate for a baby of their own, that’s who. Which makes unusual stipulations incredibly unfair. As soon as the transfer of ownership is complete, you lose all ability to tell your recipients how to make choices. That’s reality, and if it sounds unpalatable, then donation isn’t for you.
So… how silly can I get?
You will have some control when you donate. Almost all of your control comes up front, before you actually transfer ownership of the embryos.
You decide when to donate. Provided you pay your embryo storage fees, you can wait until you are fully ready.
You will decide how to donate: anonymously, or to known recipients (more on this in chapter two, Known vs. Anonymous Donation). If you donate anonymously, you can usually give geographic constraints (example: at my clinic, I can declare that no one living within “X” miles of my home may receive them).
If you choose known donation, you have complete control over whom you choose. You can ask any questions you want to determine what kind of people they are, no matter how asinine.
For a known donation, you can determine what happens to your embryos if the recipients don’t end up using them all, or if something happens to them—a death, divorce, persistent vegetative state, or something equally un-fun.
Okay, we’ve made a decision to donate. What now?
Deciding the fate of your embryos is the first step, and if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. You’ve made the most important decision of this entire process. Whew!
There are more decisions ahead, both big and small.
Up next: do you want to choose your recipients, or do you want to remain anonymous?
Explore this bucket o’ fun in Chapter Two—The Alabama Lottery: Anonymous vs. Known Donation.
Looking for more?
Check out my blog entries written as we went through the process, including:
- Spare Babies: Written right after our first embryo retrieval and almost a year before Peanut was born, when I first broached the idea of what to do with extra embryos.
- Giving Up Our Embryos: Coming to terms with the donation decision, soon after Squeak was born.
- The Embryo Donation Dating Game, Part 1 and Part 2: Finding a couple to receive our embryos.
- 6 Questions for my Embryo Recipient: A Mother’s Day bit of fun, getting to know the mom half of the couple who would receive our embryos.
- The Donation is Final: When we signed the contract and it was final—those three embryos were no longer ours—it was an odd feeling.
- What To Expect When Someone Else is Pregnant with Your Genetic Child: Getting the news that Lauren was pregnant. Spoiler alert: it was not what I expected.
- What to Expect When the Woman Pregnant with Your Genetic Child Suddenly…Isn’t: The miscarriage. The guilt. Good lord, the guilt.
- Donated Embryo Transfer #2: If at first you don’t succeed, give it another go. And they did.
- Embryo Donation: Whose Kid Is It, Anyway?: Some donor moms can’t quite let go.
- My Embryo Donation Failure: The shitty feeling of knowing that you tried to give someone the gift of a lifetime, and you failed at it.
|↑1||Frozen embryo transfer|
|↑2||My husband and I are committed single-embryo-transfer people. We have neither the desire nor courage for twins, and neither of us wanted to sign me up for a high-risk pregnancy that could endanger my life or the baby’s life(s) as well. Double embryo transfer is common, but the risks involved in twin pregnancies are often overlooked. For example: more twin pregnancies end in miscarriage. Sixty percent of twins are born prematurely, which can come with brain bleeds, heart failure, blindness, permanent lung scarring, sepsis, meningitis, and a whole host of scary shit. Preeclampsia is twice as likely with twin pregnancies, as is gestational diabetes (which puts mom at higher risk of diabetes later in life). It’s one thing to have twins because nature split an embryo, or your body released two eggs. It’s quite another to transfer two highly graded embryos because you believe it’s “two for the price of one.” (The NICU is not cheap.) A singleton pregnancy is safest for mom and baby. Please talk to your doctor about single embryo transfer before you’re put on the spot. That stressful moment is no time to make a difficult decision that could impact your health and that of the beautiful baby you’ve worked so hard for.|
|↑3||They use a special set of stirrups for these procedures, and they’re nothing like the “put your heels here” kind you know and love from your pelvic exams. These hold your legs at the knee, so you are pretty much forced to abandon all modesty and soldier on.|
|↑4||My husband wants me to make a “Han Solo in carbonite” reference here, but I’m not sure exactly what that means.|
|↑5||I have heard of a couple of cases where donors couldn’t find takers, due to a close family relative with genetic diseases, like schizophrenia.|
|↑6||I was a little torn about donating because I’d look at my beautiful babies and think, “I can’t give one of these two to another family!” But then it occurred to me: had I used our embryos to have a third child, it wouldn’t be an exact copy of Peanut or Squeak. He (or she) would be his own person. He’d look and act uniquely and have a personality all his own. Once I realized that, the idea of donating became easier to handle.|