Saturday, June 29, 2013

Donor Family Photos

We have now received both the draft copies of the Open Donation Agreements for each of the donor families.  Babe and I will have to review this in detail this weekend and get back to Debbie if we have any questions or concerns, or if anything needs to be changed.  After that we will sign and notarize the contracts and we should be set.   Hopefully, we will have a transfer date from NEDC soon.

For ease of discussion, I will refer to our donor families as Family A (our first choice) & Family B (second choice).

Family B sent us 2 pictures of their twins when they first approved us to adopt their embryos.  They volunteered the photos back then.  Today Debbie sent me an email with more pictures from Family B.   They sent us a total of 8 photos, 2 of which we had already received.  The photos range from newborn to pretty recent, probably within the last couple of months.  Such adorable kids!  They also included a family photo including the mom & dad, so now we know what they look like too.  Debbie also included a note from the mom of Family B stating that they are grateful and blessed we are moving forward with their precious embryos.  She also suggested I consider doing acupuncture for this transfer as there are many benefits to doing so.  I am happy she mentioned that as I am planning on doing acupuncture anyways.

I am grateful that we have received more information about Family B, especially the photos.  I've even now had a chance to receive communication from the mom (though the note was forwarded).  I feel like I have more connection with Family B now, though they are our second choice.  They have been so open and gracious with their family's information.  I wish we would be able to get more information about Family A like we did with Family B.  Family A is our first choice because physically they are a better match for us.

We did not request any photos from Family A, but deep down I was hoping they would volunteer to provide them.  We did not offer any photos of ourselves at this point.  In fact, Babe would prefer to hold off on providing photos of us until we are pregnant/until a baby is born.   This is for our privacy, and also for my peace of mind.  I don't know how I would handle it if I'm not able to get pregnant or if I were to miscarry.  So, because we did not offer any photos, we would not be comfortable asking Family A for photos.

This leaves me in kind of a dilemma.  Family A is our first choice because the baby/babies would like more like us.  But we are starting to have a bit more of a connection with Family B.  We still have time to change our minds on our preference of donor families, but now I am less confident in our choice.

We are adopting 5 embryos from Family A, and 3 embryos from Family B (we need to have a minimum of 6).  Depending on if/how many embryos survive the thaw, we may only need embryos from ONE family.

Should we make our decision based on physical characteristics that match us, or on the fact that we now know more about a certain family?  Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

More On The Donor Families & The ODA

Last Friday, we had our phone meeting with Debbie, our counselor from the National Fertility Support Center to go over our Open Donation Agreement (ODA).  She had spoken to each family prior to our conversation so she shared some more info about each of the families.

Both sets of families seem like really great families.  They are happy to have their embryos chosen to be adopted by us.  They also seem very thoughtful and concerned about how we feel and want to respect our privacy.  Both families have very similar infertility stories to ours.  They both had twins - the first a set of boy twins, and the second a set of boy/girl twins.  What's cooler is both sets of twins were born a week from each other.

Debbie shared with us the first names of the both couples, as well as the children's.  It was really nice to be able to refer to the couple by name instead of donor numbers.  They will now also know our first names.  We share a few things in common with the families, things like similar occupations and having the same college degrees. We also enjoy the same type of music, play the same musical instruments, and played the same sports in high school.  One of the couples also did acupuncture during one of their IVF cycles.  Debbie said it was good to find things that we have in common other than just physical characteristics.  It would make it easier and more natural to develop a relationship with the families in the future if we have something in common to talk about and be able to relate to.

We went over the details of the ODA.  It was a relief to find out that we are all on the same page regarding communication for the future.  One thing that is somewhat new that we talked about is as part of the agreement, we would send MUTUAL updates to each other.  That means not only do we provide the donor families with updates of our child(ren), the donor families will also share information and updates about their children (genetic siblings).  I think this is a win-win for all parties.  In addition, the donor families have agreed to have their identities and contact information be made available to the child(ren) once the child(ren) turns 18.  If we decide to have personal contact prior to that, that will be at the discretion of both parties (both us and the donor family).

I am super excited about both our donor families.  I have a little bit of a mixed feeling.  In a way I wish that I could have a relationship with both families, which could still happen.  It would require one or more of the following scenarios:

  • Some of the embryos not survive the thaw (we don't want that!) and we would require embryos from both families.
  • We don't get pregnant the first try and need to go back for a second try with the second donor family, assuming we don't have any embryos left from the first family.
  • We get pregnant with the first donor family, and we go back for a second child in the future with the second donor family.

But if we get pregnant with twins, I don't know if we will try to have anymore children.  Argh.... so many possibilities!  There is also the possibility that I am not able to get pregnant at all! Then I won't be able to have any relationship with either family at all.  And I would hate to disappoint not just myself, but also the donor families.

But I don't want to think about that now.  I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control.  He has already chosen our child(ren) and that is in His hands.

We received a copy of the ODA that we will sign with one of the families.  Babe and I will review that and get back to Debbie with questions or changes.  Eventually we will have to have the agreement, which is technically a contract, signed and notarized.  We will need to sign 2 agreements, one with each donor family.  Then NEDC will assign us a transfer date in September.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 2013 ICLW

It always amazes me how quickly a month flies by and it is time for ICLW again.

For those new here from ICLW, here's a quick round up of where we are.  Babe and I have been married for almost 11 years, and had been trying to have a baby for almost 9.  We tried clomid, IUIs and also 4 rounds of IVFs without any success.  We were originally diagnosed with unexplained infertility but was later told we are not able to conceive due to crappy low quality eggs.  Last year we started our process to adopt internationally and then later decided to pursue embryo adoption instead.

We are working with the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) to adopt our embryos.  Last month we flew out to Knoxville, TN to meet up with the staff there and had our initial appointment and mock transfer.  We were given some profiles of donor families that met our preferences for us to select embryos from.  About 2 weeks ago, Babe and I selected 2 families.  Both donor families accepted and approved us to adopt their embryos almost immediately!  We are so happy and excited about this!

Just yesterday, we had a phone meeting with our counselor regarding our Open Donation Agreement (ODA).  I will write about this in another post.  That's where we are right now.  I hope you stick around and follow us as we continue on our journey to grow our family via embryo adoption!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Moving Along

Our donor families approved us to adopt their embryos on Monday.  On Tuesday, we mailed a check for the Open Donation Agreement (ODA) fees to the National Fertility Support Center (NFS).  The ODA is a contract that both the donor and recipient families sign agreeing that we will maintain communication if a child is born from the embryos adopted.  It includes such things as:

  • Information of the child born (name, sex, date of birth, etc.)
  • Types of information to be communicated (medical info, development progress, etc)
  • Frequency of the communication that will take place and for how long
  • Method of communication - email, letters, phone calls, texts, etc.
  • Medium of  communication - through NFS, licensed adoption agency, attorney, 3rd party or directly between families.
  • Whether there will be direct contact in the future between families and genetic siblings.
NFS' roles is to help with our embryo adoption plan and education, preparing us for openness, negotiating of our ODA with the donor families, and to support us through the embryo adoption process.  We have an initial meeting over the phone with Debbie, the counselor at NFS scheduled for next Friday.  She will help us with the mediation process for the ODA.  After this, we will also have phone meetings with each of the donor families.

Today, I spoke with the Briova, the pharmacy that will be providing us with our medications for our September transfer.  NEDC works with Briova as they are supposed to be the cheapest ones around.  Unlike our previous IVF cycles, this time around our insurance company does not provide any fertility coverage at all.  The cost of the meds will be mostly be out of pocket, adding up to around $345.  Here is the approximate breakdown of the cost of the drugs:
  • Lu.pron - $129
  • Es.trace - $195 (for 60 tablets)
  • Progesterone in oil (PIO) - $20 (for 4 vials)
  • Va.lium - $0.42
Fortunately, because we are doing a FET (frozen embryo transfer), we will not need any drugs that stimulate follicles to produce more eggs.  These stims cost thousands of dollars!  I was quite surprised at how expensive Es.trace is.  This is most likely because NEDC requires that the brand name drug be used instead of the generic.  That's more than $3 per tablet, and I have to take 2 - 3 per day!  Not sure how long I will need continue taking it after the transfer though.

What has everyone else paid for meds?  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Approved by The Donor Families!

We have been approved by our donor families!!

I was excited to receive an email from Angie, our patient coordinator at NEDC this morning that both of our donor families have accepted and approved us to adopt their embryos!  We are so excited!

Not only that, I received a second email from Angie with 2 photos from one of the families.  They have a set of boy/girl twins - the first photo of when they were babies, probably newborns, and the second as toddlers, probably around 3 or 4 years old.  These twins were born in 2009.

I also found out that both sets of embryos from the 2 families were frozen in 2008, and the children were born a week from each other in 2009.

Our next step is to work on our Open Donation Agreement.  A counselor from the National Fertility Support Center will be contacting us and the two donor families to begin our mediation process. This is the step where Babe and I will come up with an agreement with each family on, among other things,  how much communication we will have with them, what information will be communicated, as well as how the communication will take place.

We are so grateful to God that both families have accepted us, and also so quickly.  Since we just sent the email with our decision to NEDC on Friday morning, I was worried it might be awhile before we heard back.

Now we look forward to the Open Donation Agreement process!

Friday, June 7, 2013

We've Decided!

Last night, Babe and I sat down and went through all the donor family profiles.  8 open adoption families and 10 closed adoption (anonymous) families.  At first I thought there were 12 anonymous donor families, but there were only 10 that were sent to us.

As I mentioned in my other post, there were already 2 open adoption families that I was pretty comfortable with.  I didn't see any other families in the closed adoption ones that really interested me, but there was one I would have been OK with.  I would still prefer to have an open adoption.

Babe went through all the profiles again and handed me 2 profiles that were his choice.  Guess what?  They were the very same 2 open adoption families that I picked too!  Thank God!!  I was so worried we were going to disagree and would need to have a heated "discussion".  I'm so glad we are on the same page!  At first, my first choice family was his second choice, but he changed his mind quickly and on his own.  I guess I would have been OK with either choice, but I'm glad he changed his mind.

So now, we have chosen 2 families, with a total of 8 blastocysts.  I emailed Angie the patient coordinator at NEDC with our decision.  She emailed me back this morning that she will email our profile to the 2 families to approve.  I hope we hear back with a decision soon!

This is so exciting!  Please pray that the donor families would like us and would give us the privilege to adopt their babies.

Also, I am working on questions and answer for my FAQ post.  Please send me more questions you would like to ask about me, our journey or embryo adoption.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Questions for Me - FAQ

image from

I am thinking about writing a post about embryo adoption, our journey and just in general about me.  Kind of a "FAQ" post.  If you have been following my blog, you would have already read quite a bit about me.  But I also wanted to provide more info about our infertility journey (including our IVF treatments), our adoption journey, embryo adoption, or anything else that you have wanted to know.

So, here's your chance to ask a question or two.
  Why can't I have a baby?  
  How many rounds of IVF did I do?
  What kinds of medication did I go on?
  Tips for medication?
  Why decide on embryo adoption? 
  Is embryo adoption really adoption?

Anything goes.... unless I'm not comfortable answering it.  But I'll let you know.  I'm in the process of coming up with some questions myself, so go right ahead and ask.

I'm excited to see what everyone wants to know.