Life with Coco and Gigi... and Jack-Jack too!

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So, in the light of my newfound appreciation for sharing my opinions, here goes. :D

I thought my topic of the week would be that of embryo storage, usage and disposal. I believe that donating both eggs and embryos is a beautiful gift that I can give to another couple like Brian and I who could not otherwise have children. I don't see it as hugely problematic, although some would disagree. I know that this can be considered wrong by some people as the embryos I might put up for adoption are essentially my children. This is where the controversy comes in. What if my kids end up dating their own biological sibling in twenty years (not real likely, I know)? What if laws get passed that might disregard my anonymity and these children are able to seek me out? What if my children find out that I chose to do this and they are hurt or angry? What if I see a child in the mall some day and it is the spitting image of me or Brian or my daughters?

I think I might have pointed out in a comments section that this issue of embryo usage is one of the major issues the catholic church takes with IVF. (A couple people asked my opinion on some catholic churches taking issue with infertility treatment). According to the church to dispose of embryos either for scientific study or just disposing of them all together is morally the same as abortion. This is a point I have to agree with the church on. Many churches and priests do not see any problem with the actual act of IVF itself. It is what happens after that causes the problems.

And as for the issue of disposal of embryos... my personal opinion is that using embryos for scientific study is very close to allowing your own children to be guinea pigs for who knows what. At my clinic there is no rule or law saying that if you donate to science they have to tell you what studies are being performed. I find this scary. I know this brings into question the whole "When does life begin" debate. For me, it's easy. Life begins at the moment of conception. So, that being said I see scientific study of embryos to be a moral quagmire.

That leaves us with the last option, disposal. I think you can all probably venture to guess where I stand here. Throwing away a human life is immoral. When these embryos can be adopted by parents who have worked, prayed, gone through test after test and procedure after procedure why the hell would you throw them away.

I know there are a lot more issues here I am overlooking, feel free to bring them to the table. I just see this one as an easy decision (for me personally, anyway). I think to NOT put your embryos up for adoption is selfish. Just because you might have a fear of this potential life coming to find you later on. Or because it might be weird knowing your child is out there somewhere. To me helping a deserving couple become parents should outweigh those issues.

I am not sure that people who never do IVF get the gravity of the decision to do an IVF cycle. It's even more complicated than finding the money to pay for it, putting yourself through the hell of hormones, injections, ultrasounds, surgery, and the painstaking stress this all takes mentally and physically. It is also a series of decisions that have to be made. How many embryos to transfer? What happens if you end up pregnant with higher order multiples? What to do with unused embryos? What if you have embryos that are fragmented or considered sub-par? There is so much that goes into a cycle on top of what meets the eye.


Tracy Waring 4:19 PM  

I love your comments and feel much the same way. Hubby and I are one of those couples that value life and think that embryo adoption is a wonderful option and hope to one day do our own when we've found our match. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. t.

Anonymous 6:09 PM  

Sounds like the adoption is the best option for you. I disagree with your stance of course regarding them as human life and feel that using them for scientific study is perhaps a great sacrifice to be made for the greater good of mankind. With that being said, I understand how you feel. Personally, I could not live knowing that a child with my DNA is out there...I would have to find out about them. It would kill me to not be able to mommy kids made from the love between myself and my husband. But if you can live with that, then I know there are plenty of people out there who would love the opportunity to be parents.

Kristen 8:19 PM  

I just can't bare the thought of "throwing away" what could easily become a human life. To me an embryo is so much more than a few collected cells. It has a genetic code for gender, personality, eye color, hair color and so on. So for me that is enough to seal the deal, so to speak.

Anonymous 11:27 PM  

For a religious person, it would seem the issue should be about when one's soul comes into existence rather then their physical pre-characteristics. Genesis 2:7 says, "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul." The Hebrew word "nephesh," or "the breathing one," appears hundreds times in the Old Testament as the definition of a human being or person. It goes without saying that one must be born in order to breathe. Furthermore, every cell of a person contains one's DNA or genetic code, if you use the genetic definition of "human life" to mean "genetic code for gender, personality, eye color, hair color" then you would have to regard every cell as a human being since each cell could potentially become another person through cloning.

I also wonder about the legal and spiritual ramifications of considering frozen embryos human lives. Can you be accused of abuse or violation of civil rights for keeping an embryo frozen instead of implanting it right away? By allowing embryos to stay in a frozen state, wherein they are theoretically neither alive nor dead, are you potentially forcing a human soul into a kind of purgatory?

And finally, if one truly views embryos as a human life of their creation, then shouldn't one's commitment, as a parent to their child, be no less emphatic at the embryonic stage than at a later stage. E.g., would you give up a three year old for adoption?

Just throwing all that in the mix.

Anonymous 3:53 PM  

Previous anonymous brought up some great points.

This is one of those things that NO ONE will agree on. I am grateful to not have to make these decisions — all of my embryos arrested after my twins implanted. While I was sad at first, I was then relieved to not face this choice myself.

This isn't just a topic of valuing life.I would venture to say each person commenting here values life. I think it has everything to do with when you think life begins. For ME, I believe life begins when embryo attaches to the uterus. Because, as far as I know, life cannot begin without that uterus.

So those early miscarriages I had, I lost a baby, a life. They were terrible terrible times. But those failed IVFs with embryos that didn't implant, well, that to ME is a loss of potential life, but not a life.

For K, it seems the only choice for her is to donate them embryos, if she doesn't use them herself. Anything less than that in her own eyes is akin to taking a life. I can respect that, but I wonder: Do you even wonder about those babies then? Can you go on with your life and NOT be distracted by the fact that your children (DNA wise) are out there? For me, I couldn't do it. But I would never be in that position bec. I view the beginning of life at a different point. Convenient? Maybe, but don't we all have a right to our own views?

Kristen 6:04 PM  

Thanks for all the opinions ladies. I am getting so much food for thought here. Thanks so much for welcoming my opinion so amazingly. I love my readers!!!

Isn't it nice to have adult conversation for a while, even if it is in the virtual world.

MrsSpock 8:37 PM  

We too had decided that if we ever had to undergo IVF, we would likely do embryo adoption. It seems like such a great gift to give another couple.

If my body weren't so rickety, I'd likely give a good try to any we would have left. As it is, I'm not sure it would even withstand doing more than we've already done to have a child.



About this blog

Over 8 years we have struggled through 3 IUI's, 6 rounds of IVF, several RE's, hundreds of appointments and the loss of three little angels. Now we find ourselves the proud parents of two perfect little girls and a wonderful little boy!!

Both of our girls struggle with some disabilities but that won't keep us down. Each day has it's own brand of insanity but we love it. Most days I am more monkey wrangler than mother but I do the best I can. Todays goal - getting to tomorrow.

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