Embryo Adoption: A Unique Option to Give a Child Life

Embryo Adoption: A Unique Option to Give a Child Life

Guest Post Written by Erin Odom

Although Tiffany and Micah Childs have two biological children, the couple has always felt led to adopt. But the costs and steps necessary to go through an adoption agency were overwhelming.

“Lord, if this is for us, you need to make this simple,” Tiffany prayed.

And God answered in a way the couple would have never imagined.

original preg test

Image courtesy Tiffany Childs

Giving God Glory through Embryo Adoption

Tiffany and Micah have been friends of mine since high school. When I saw on Tiffany’s Facebook page that she was expecting triplets through embryo adoption, I was intrigued–and felt compelled to spread the word about this little-known ministry to “the least of these.”

With the increase of in vitro fertilization (IVF), there’s been a worldwide influx of fertilized eggs that parents must decide to discard, donate to science (and therefore discard) or give up for adoption.

Adoption is the only option for these babies to have a chance at life.

As a Christian, I believe that life begins at conception–meaning each and every one of these embryos is a real person. The Childs family feels the same way.

“These babies are made in the image of God and they deserve a chance to live,” Tiffany said. “They deserve all the things we can provide for them, which is, in the very least, a chance to live. To call a child a child even in its earliest form honors God and brings glory to Him.”

Embryo Adoption: A Unique Option to Give a Child Life

Image by simmbarb

Counting the Costs

Of all types of adoption, embryo adoption seems to be the easiest as far as paperwork and legalities go.

Because the medical community and government don’t see embryos as life, Tiffany explained, they are not protected as such and are merely considered property.

“It’s very easy to adopt,” Tiffany said. “You just have to get a transfer of property.”

Once Tiffany was diagnosed pregnant, her health insurance kicked in to cover the pregnancy. And her and Micah’s names will be listed as the parents on the babies’ birth certificates.

Compared to many domestic and especially international adoptions, embryo adoption can be more affordable. Each “transfer” or adoption of embryos can cost as low as $4-$5,000 if going through a private clinic. The downside is that not every transfer results in a pregnancy.

Tiffany encourages families to seek the Lord’s guidance in adopting–and to count the costs.

In less than a year, the Childs have lost 7 babies. The first two babies didn’t grow once in Tiffany’s womb. Three didn’t make it through the thawing process, and the last two again didn’t make it once transferred.

It was heartbreaking.

“But knowing that those children are with Jesus and no longer frozen is a lovely, precious thought,” Tiffany said.

Tiffany is due with her triplets April 6. Even the fact that she is expecting more than two babies is miraculous. Doctors implanted two embryos–but one split into identical twins. There was only a 1 in 10,000 chance that would happen!

Childs ultrasound

Image courtesy Tiffany Childs

Rebecca’s Story

After I started working on this post, I received a comment from one of my Humbled Homemaker readers–a new mom of triplets. I checked out Rebecca’s blog, and I got chills when I realized she and her husband had adopted the babies as embryos!

Rebecca and Doug Walker have one biological daughter, but they suffered infertility for 8 years before finding out about embryo adoption. They saw it as the answer to so many of their prayers: it was more affordable than conventional adoption, it would allow a pregnancy to help heal Rebecca’s severe endometriosis and it would hopefully result in the child or children they longed for!

“When most people think of adoption, they think of adopting babies or young children,” Rebecca said. “I once had someone ask me why I didn’t adopt a child that was already alive. For my husband and I, we believe that these embryos are lives! Whether a child is running around at a orphanage playground or frozen in a vial in a doctor’s clinic, he/she needs a mom and a dad to love them and teach them about their Creator who wants to be their Savior.”

The Walker’s triplets are now three months old, and the couple–and big sister Audrey–feel immensely blessed.

Embryo Adoption: A Unique Option to Give a Child Life

Image courtesy Rebecca Walker

What about you?

Interested in embryo adoption–or perhaps donating your embryos if you’ve had IVF in the past? Check out these resources:

Had you ever heard of embryo adoption? What do you think about embryo adoption?

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  1. Amazing. I wish I had heard about this a few years ago – it would have given another option to my brother and his wife, who had embryo-babies that could have found a loving home with a family in need. I find this article both inspiring, and heartbreaking in a very personal way. The larger medical community, social workers, et al need to know more about this option and be explaining it on equal footing with other options.
    Thank you for bringing the awareness to me.

    1. @Basinah, I hope more and more people will continue to find out about this–both parents willing to adopt and parents who want to donate their embryos! Blessings to you and your family, Basinah!

  2. I love the idea!! While we are not at a place to adopt ourselves, it’s definitely something I’ll file back in my mind and be able to share with friends. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  3. I have never heard of embryo adoption, but what a wonderful opportunity! The state I live in has legalized research on IVF embryo’s that have been “discarded”. It broke my heart when the legislation passed. Now to learn that we have the power to step in and save some of these lives is wonderful! I can’t wait to discuss this new avenue of adoption with my husband!

    1. @Sara, I feel the same exact way, Sarah! I do want to point out that Tiffany stressed over and over in our interview to really, really seek the Lord and “count the costs.” She didn’t want to discourage anyone (obviously!) from doing this, but she also said it can be hard (emotionally, physically) and to make sure the Lord is leading! I am excited to see what God does as more and more people find out about a way for these babies to have a chance at life!

  4. I’d never heard of this before – I don’t even know why the thought of it being a possibility never crossed my mind. What a wonderful idea! I’m a little weepy just contemplating it.

    I’ve personally chosen to not attempt any forms of artificial insemination (in the event we face fertility problems) – however I feel differently about this procedure, because those little embryos need a chance at life. I would seriously consider this if I felt God leading us in this direction.

  5. I’m so very glad to see that this is getting some publicity. I was exposed to the concept of embryo adoption several years ago through a Christian novel that I picked up. They were called “Snowflake Adoptions” (http://www.nightlight.org/adoption-services/snowflakes-embryo/default.aspx) and it was chosen by the couple in the book for the same reasons mentioned above. One partner was uncomfortable with letting the world know he had a low sperm count and thus couldn’t impregnate his wife. It was a difficult topic handled delicately and the author included more information in an appendix. (I’d love to share the name of the book and the author, but whomever I loaned it to never got it back to me. Oh well!)

    Thank you for a great article, Erin! I will be sharing. 🙂

    1. Just now seeing this comment! I would love to find that novel! I am getting on here now because the Childs triplets are being born tonight!

  6. What a beautiful story! My husband and I have talked about adoption since the day we were married, but had never heard of embryo adoption. This idea excites me tremendously!

    1. @Cheryn, Same here, Cheryn! Tiffany encourages anyone considering this to really seek the Lord and count the costs (there can be many emotional and physical tolls), but it is so exciting to think what the Lord will do as more and more people find out about this way to give these babies a chance at life!

  7. I’ve never heard of this before but am interested! I have had 3 miscarriages and currently trying again. Adoption has definitely crossed our minds several times, not sure if this would be the right thing for us since I struggle staying pregnant. Thanks for sharing!

    1. @Andrea Merrigan, I’m not sure of all the health requirements for the women, but it’s worth asking if you feel led! I do know that women who have had previous miscarriages have been able to do this. I pray you are blessed with the child you desire soon. God knows the desires of your heart! Blessings, Andrea!

    2. @Andrea Merrigan, First of all, God bless you, Andrea. May God continue to heal your heart from the loss of your little ones. I will say that your doc can better assess the reasons for your miscarriages and whether or not adopting embryos would be wise. I will pray for you as you think and pray about this option.

  8. We have friends who decided on this option about 7 years ago, after waiting for a child for years. I think they are often referred to as “snowflake babies” because the embryos are frozen.

    They happily implanted and gave birth to fraternal twins, a boy and a girl!

  9. I was already aware of embryo adoption, but this was a nice article to make aware those who have not heard. As an adoptive parent (through domestic infant adoption) I would like to mention one thing. The very first sentence made me cringe a bit: “Although Tiffany and Micah Childs have two children of their own, the couple has always felt led to adopt.” As someone who writes, I believe words are important. A better way to say that would be, “Although Tiffany and Micah Childs have two biological children,….” To describe the two biological children as “their own” grammatically leads us to conclude the non-biological children would not be considered “their own”. Although Tiffany and Micah childs have two children of their own, the couple has always felt led to adopt {a child who is not their own}. As Christians, we should see that in God’s great plan, the child you adopt is your own child. It is a child God has planned to be in your family since the foundation of the world. We are God’s own children through adoption. I would hate to be thought of as just some kid that wasn’t really God’s own. I want to be his own, and children who were adopted want to be your own. That’s why the best way to make the distinction is through using the words biological and adopted. However, I realize that everyone knows what you meant and that no one intended anything offensive or disrespectful by the wording. I just think using what is termed “respectful adoption language” can help people have a more positive and less suspicious view of the whole process.

    1. @Annie Donahue, Wow–you are absolutely right, Annie! Thank you so, so much! I hope and pray God will allow me to continue to write about adoption (in any form–I have written for other publications about traditional adoption in the past), and you have just given me a way to improve the message! I apologize if it offended you! I wholeheartedly agree that God planned for these babies (and your babies and ALL adopted babies to be with their adoptive families since the beginning of time).

      One of my best childhood friends was adopted as a baby because her parents could not conceive. They miraculously conceived when she was about a year old. Even as a child, I always said: There are no, no doubts that Courtney Brooke was planned by God to be with her family! He created her to be theirs! (This dear friend was killed in a car wreck in 1999, devastating all of us, and I named by firstborn after her. Even in her death, we could all see how God has perfectly planned her 17 years with her adoptive family!)

      I love how God works!

      Thank you again for calling me out on the erroneous wording! I will be sure to always use the term biological in future writings!

      Blessings to you!

      1. @Erin O,
        No offense taken. Just sharing the terminology. That is a sad but wonderful story about your childhood friend. I just noticed that you write for Lake Norman Mommies. I live in Indian Trail, NC!

        1. @Annie Donahue, Indian Trail isn’t too far! Maybe an hour (or a little less?). I attended a women’s conference at a small Baptist church there about two years ago! Are you a Charlotte Mommy?! I write for LKN Mommies once/month! Glad to find another semi-local mama through the blogging world! It’s a small world for sure!

        2. Heather, we are SUPER close–about 30 minutes or so from Concord Mills in Mville! NASCAR country–haha! (Although I’m not a fan!–except when I write about it for the paper!) 😉

  10. I recently started reading about embryo adoption. I think it is a wonderful method of adoption that saves babies and has unique benefits (and challenges, of course) for adopting parents.

    1. @Yvette, That is so neat that you were already reading up on it! I was so intrigued when I first found out about it a few months ago (and set to researching myself)! I don’t know why I had never thought about it before. Such an amazing ministry opportunity if God leads!

  11. We had our children through IVF. After having our twins I was exhausted and not sure if I wanted more kids. We still had 3 embryos left and decided to try for one. We then had 3 kids. 4 years later and we still had 2 embryos. My husband thought it would be a good idea to put them up for adoption, but these were my babies. I was 43 years old and not looking forward to another pregnancy. We almost lost our son 4 years ago. Those four years after having my third child were hard. I talked to fertility clinics about my options and cost. I found out that there are so many frozen embryos out there. The fertility clinics insist that you fertilize all the eggs they retrieve. Some people end up having over 10 embryos frozen. The options are destroying or using them. I am so glad that there are organizations out there that are giving people another option. While I cannot imagine giving up my children there are people out there who are more than willing. Thank God for them. As for my story I trusted God, that he gave me those embryos and I need to see this through. I lost one of them, but now have a beautiful daughter who is 3 months old. Thank you so much for writing this story so that more people are aware of these snowflakes that need parents.

    1. @Darcey, What an amazing testimony, Darcey! Tiffany told me your testimony encouraged her as well! I am glad to hear of a KoH reader who has experienced this firsthand. Praise God for the lives of your precious children!

    2. Darcey-How awesome that you used all your embryos! It was a great sacrifice that is well worth it!
      In my husband’s and my search for donors, we once came across a set of parents who had 35 frozen embryos they didn’t want any longer. It would take a village to raise the children that one family created!

  12. As a mom who adopted (already born children) my concern with this type of adoption is that it will be easy/tempting for adoptive parents to “pretend” that the child is not adopted. I hope that the agencies that facilitate these adoptions do a good job of educating parents that children need to have an open and honest dialogue about where they come from. Also as someone who understands open adoption & sees it’s benefits, I hope that the parents who adopt embryos maintain some kind of contact with the biological parents, for the benefit of all involved.

    1. @lisa, What is interesting is that, at least in some cases, some of these parents actually choose babies that they know won’t look like them. In Tiffany’s case, several of the babies she had transferred were of different races than she and Micah (Hispanic and Pacific Islander, while she and Micah are white). The biological mother of the babies she is now carrying has red hair, and she told me it will be interesting if one of the babies has red hair (I’m a redhead–she and Micah and their boys have brown hair). These families seem to be thankful to the biological parents for giving these babies a chance at life as well by choosing to give them up for adoption instead of discard their unused embryos.

    2. @lisa, I totally understand your thoughts, Lisa. While going through the embryo adoption process, the first bits of info we ever saw on any donors were details about their physical appearance. Since we never wanted to pretend for a second that our adopted children were our’s biologically, we didn’t care what our babies may look like. Our babies, are all biologically siblings and are half Korean, half Swedish/German. My husband, biological daughter, and I couldn’t look any more pale-skinned Caucasian! We enjoy telling them now – even while they have no idea of what we speak- about how they came to be ours! They will always know the truth.
      We hope in that endeavor, our kiddos come to see the parallels of their relationship with Christ. They look nothing like Christ, but are loved nonetheless. When they are adopted into God’s family, slowly they almost begin to look like Christ as He places His righteousness on them. I pray, that my love and my husband’s love that we set upon them is what makes them a Walker, not their skin or eye color – where they came from & where started out!

      1. @Rebecca, I love this: “They (WE) look nothing like Christ, but are loved nonetheless. When they are adopted into God’s family, slowly they almost begin to look like Christ as He places His righteousness on them.”

        Thank you, Rebecca!

  13. This is a very difficult area for me to look at. Truly, on the one hand, these children are human beings, brought about in the most undignified way (a laboratory), but are nevertheless deserving of our respect and love. As a Catholic – I’m always looking for the church’s guidance in this area, which is why I would never do IVF, but I don’t know if I could adopt an embryo either, given that it is much more likely for the child to die in the process, than be brought to birth. It is such a painful technological age we live in, where life is no longer treated as a gift, but something to be bought or destroyed as we desire. God bless these families that try to give these children some dignity!

    1. @Jen @ Eating my Vegetables, I agree, this is very, very difficult. It is hard for a believer to know what to do in these instances. Tiffany recommends everyone interested in adopting to truly seek the Lord and count the costs because it can be a very painful process. Tiffany and Micah feel blessed to have so many children in heaven now, but it has not come easy for them to lose them. They feel they have, in the very least, given these frozen embryos some dignity by giving them a chance at life.

    2. @Jen @ Eating my Vegetables, When my hubby and I first started navigating the waters of infertility, we were saddened and even disgusted at how murky those waters truly are! We recognize that you can make IVF moral – only retrieving a couple eggs, fertilizing them all, and implanting them all at one time. However, for us ,it was a route we deemed uncomfortable and unwise given the cost and chance for success given the way we’d want to go about it. Regardless of whether or not I’d do IVF, I still was faced with the question of what is to become of all of these embryos suspended in time? The longer they are in storage, the more likelihood of a storage temperature malfunction, which could kill them. We asked ourselves if it made more sense to leave them in the freezer indefinitely with no chance at life, or offer them a cozy spot inside me with a chance at life. A chance, no matter how small, is better than no chance. My husband and I lost 4 embryos on our first attempt, 2 during the thaw and 2 after being transferred into my womb. We were greatly grieved and consider those 4 children to be ours. We long to embrace them some day when we meet them again in Glory!
      I agree with you that this ‘a painful technological age’. Although many choose to focus on the benefits technology bring, we often don’t consider the costs. With great power, comes great responsiblity….

  14. Thank you for sharing this! I am currently 14 weeks along in my pregnancy from embryos that we adopted. It is our 4th child and my first pregnancy – God has given us such a creative adventure in building our family! As a Christian, I too, have felt the desire to spread the word about this form of adoption. The more we talk about it, the more little babies can get out of the freezers and into warm bellies!

    1. @Cutzi, What an amazing testimony, Cutzi!!! You are living proof that adopting embryos does not mean parents will not still adopt already-born children as well. Praise God for your obedience to adopt! I pray your pregnancy goes well–how exciting!!! I loved your last sentence: “The more we talk about it, the more little babies can get out of the freezers and into warm bellies!” My husband and I are not currently in a situation to adopt, but we are definitely wide open to it in the future. I pray I will remember your words!

    2. @Cutzi, YEAH!!! So thrilled for you. Have fun telling your story, helping the cause, and trying to save lives! In our house, since we were always having to explain embryo adoption to our young daughter, we’d always pray for the babies to find their ‘cozy spot’ inside Momma!
      Sadly, from an earthly perspective, we said goodbye to 4 teeny-tinies. But with an eternal perspective, we are elated that they are worshipping around the throne of their Maker at this moment. On our second attempt, our embryologist gave us hope for only one embryo, but our great God, sustained all three!!

  15. I find this so interesting. Not sure why I have never heard of embryo adoption before. This is something I would love to do, but since my fertility issue is one of frequent miscarriages, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be the best candidate to carry a baby to term. Still glad to learn about this possibility, though!

    1. @Jamie, It is very interesting! I am not sure the protocol with how they choose which women they will allow to be implanted. I know Tiffany had to undergo medical examines. Praise God there are so many ways to adopt children into our families!

    2. @Jamie, I just want to first acknowledge your losses. Frequent miscarriages are devistating and I pray the Lord continues to heal your heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot adopt embryos, though. Your doc can better assess the reason for your difficulties. I will pray for you whether you consider this an option for you or not.

    3. @Jamie, Jamie- I know at the National Embryo Donation Center, they are quite thorough at determining who is a good candidate for this procedure. They also conduct a ‘mock transfer’ which gives them a glimpse into how well you’d do. They monitor everything very closely, and will not proceed with a transfer unless everything looks optimal.

      1. @Rebecca, Thanks, everyone. I will hold this option in my mind. I have a healthy 3 year old girl so I know my body is able to carry a child. I think my concern would be in the emotional risk and the possibility of once again putting myself through another loss. Something to think and pray about for the future.

  16. This is such a wonderful option that I was never aware of. This will save many lives, and I’m so grateful to learn about it and pass it along. 🙂

    1. @Amy, I hope it will save many lives as well, Amy! As Cutzi above stated: “The more we talk about it, the more little babies can get out of the freezers and into warm bellies!” Please do share! I know God has definitely led me to spread the word!

  17. I have a friend in Arizona who is a huge advocate of EA. She just had her first baby through this method because she could not conceive due to PCOS. She has been on the news and recently has been in talks with CNN to do a news piece on it. I truly hope they get on so the word can spread that we dont have to destroy or experiment on innocent life.

  18. I am a Christian but I definitely need to give this further thought–as adopting embryos never occurred to me. I’d love to hear from a christian ethics scholar on this. I experienced 5 miscarriages, all after 11 weeks, maybe my view of eggs, fertlized or not, is distorted but I came to accept (maybe wrongly) that life begins in the womb when all things were functioning well both with woman and the fertilized egg. I mourned the loss of the fetus’, but think of how many fertilized eggs never make it past the stage of women even knowing a fertilized eggs exists inside her. Don’t know the science of this, but I suspect all those days we thought we were just 3 days late, maybe a fertilized egg that didn’t make it?Maybe life begins and ends in us more times than we even know. I know of 5 times for sure, but I suspect there were more. Just thinking out loud….

    1. @Andrea, I read somewhere (it was in a pregnancy book recently) that the miscarriage rate is about 50% of all pregnancies, only the majority of women do not know they are pregnant, so the rate is much smaller for known miscarriages.

    2. @Andrea, It is a lot–a whole lot–to process and consider. I believe life begins at conception, but embryo adoption was never something I ever thought about until a few months ago. I don’t know what I thought happened to all the fertilized eggs they didn’t use. There is definitely a lot to ponder with this…hope God gives you some answers!

    3. @Andrea, I understand where you’re coming from, as I have had one miscarriage at 7 weeks and multiple “unknown” miscarriages where I wasn’t so late that I had time to take a test, but due to the menstruation being much heavier with more clots I know that I miscarried. Each one (and others I may not know of) were precious children of God. I don’t know why they were called to heaven so early, and I wish I had a chance to hold them and watch them grow up! I had to grieve all of them.

      I would disagree (and it’s my own personal opinion) and say that once an egg is fertilized it is a precious baby. If I wait until all things are going ok, then what do I say to my friend who loses her baby at 3 weeks before the due date? It is so hard to know why God does things, but I have to trust that He knows best. I think of the analogy of a puzzle. There’s a box filled with many little pieces, and over time the pieces are put together and in the end I have a completed puzzle. Same for the fertilized egg, it has all the pieces, and over the time in womb all the pieces are put together and then born as a complete baby. Just another point of view. I hope you are able to find some answers through prayer!

  19. As I read this post, and all the varying responses to it, I am surprised by the range of responses and thoughts, predominantly supportive. I have a completely different take on this subject of conception. I do not believe steps into artificial forms of conception should be taken. This is, I understand, an unpopular position. I do not intend to come across as cold-hearted; indeed, my heart breaks for those who have unfilled arms. However, it appears to me that the modern advances in this area have served as a nice and sweet deception. God is the Creator, and that is where we should begin our search for answers in this, as in all things. I have a line of posts addressing this issue on my blog under the heading of Conception, wrought from long and hard struggle. Like most women who get to my age, I have a history to draw upon in addressing this subject. However, be that as it may, the beliefs I hold come only from seeking His face, not my background and experiences.

    God’s peace,
    Shyla – Mama to three bios and two older-adopted

    1. @Shyla,

      We have two daughters conceived via intra uterine insemination and my response to those who question the rightness of getting “help” to make babies is that God is sovereign over our fertility, whether it is through natural or artificial means. My fertility doctor calls me “the lady who it’s never supposed to work for, but always does.” And I respond with, “God is very kind to us.”

      Reproductive technology is just as much a gift and blessing from God as other medical technologies such as the ability to perform organ transplants, heart surgery, etc. We are responsible to use these gifts in a God honoring way (for example, not throwing away embryos or leaving them frozen forever). Man can and does misuse many of God’s gifts to us, but the fact that they can be misused does not in an of itself make them all wrong. There are certainly some reproductive and medical technologies that do not honor God, but if you’re going to draw the line at no reproductive help at all it would seem that you must also draw it at no extra medical help at all.

      1. @Jenn, Well put! Praise God for the lives of your babies! Like I said below, I can never imagine the pain and not being able to conceive. I can never say what I would do in that situation.

      2. @Jenn, Very well said! I have 2 children from IVF. It is so frustrating when people talk about reproductive technology as trying to play God. No doctor can play God or make you pregnant. Only God can create life. No matter what we do it’s in His hands. And nobody can look at me and tell me that my children are not created in the image of God/weren’t part of his plan. They are perfect little miracles and blessings. A true gift from God, not a doctor.

        1. @Mary,

          Mary and Jenn: Your words are so encouraging to me this morning. I have PCOS and have not been able to get pregnant for about the last 3+ years. We have one daughter (7) and are struggling with what to do. I feel very strongly about allowing God to give us as many babies as He feels we should have and I am very opposed to birth control, etc. I am struggling now with the idea that maybe my body needs a little jump start to get things working properly again so that we can conceive, but it is hard for me to get over the idea that I would be almost going against my beliefs. Your words encourage me to think about it again because God can allow or prevent anything from happening in my body whether or not I do everything humanly possible. Thanks!

        2. @Mary, Well said! Praise God for these babies–and I love reading your testimonies! Your children will all have great testimonies to share one day as well!

          The ladies who adopted these precious babies said over and over: These babies were created in the image of God! How could they not adopt them when God led them to do so?

          Thank you, Mary!

    2. @Shyla, Thanks for the comments. I checked out your blog–wow, it is chock full of great information. Thank you for sharing your heart! I honestly don’t know how I feel about IVF in general. I like to keep things as natural as possible (I don’t use birth control, and my husband is even hard-pressed to get me to take a tylenol is I have a headache!), but I personally cannot say what I would do if I were in a situation where I was not able to conceive. I just cannot begin to imagine that pain.

      I think the biggest issue is that many of these women who choose IVF are not educated about what happens to the leftover embryos. In their desperation and excitement to conceive, they may not think about it, and many doctors will not tell them.

      In our interview, Tiffany told me about an instance after one of her transfers. A girl on the other side of the curtain had also just been implanted. The first question Tiffany heard the girl ask was, “What will happen to the other embyros?”

      It was as if it were the first time for her to consider the fact that there were other fertilized eggs, Tiffany said. It was heartbreaking for Tiffany (who had just been implanted with her adopted embryos) to hear–and it was heartbreaking for me as well when I heard it.

      The hard truth is that whether or not someone believes IVF is morally right or wrong, there are thousands of frozen embryos–fertilized eggs–who will never have a chance at life unless someone adopts them. If I say I believe life begins at conception (which I do) and that abortion is morally wrong because of that, I don’t see how I can ever say that embryo adoption shouldn’t also be a viable option–perhaps especially for Christians who have been called to take care of all orphans. I believe giving these babies a chance at life gives God glory and turns for good what man may have intended for evil.

      1. @Erin O, Just wanted to be sure you understand IVF…fertilized eggs CAN NOT be implanted in a uterus. That is impossible. They are transferred and then nature takes its course. If a doctor could implant them he could get a lot more women pregnant. But only God can implant an embryo/make a viable life.

        1. @Mary, Thank you for the clarification, Mary! Yes, God is sovereign over all….and I believe He planned out each life! He chose you as the mother of your precious children, He chose Tiffany and Micah as the parents of their precious babies (biological and both the embryos they lost and the babies Tiffany is now carrying) and He chose Rebecca and her husband to parent their biological daughter and 3 precious triplets.

          We have such a creative God who controls all things (even when man/scientists *think* they do!). Thank you for sharing your story!!

  20. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of ’embryo adoption’. I have a daughter who is having great difficulty conceiving. I thought perhaps this would be an option for her, and also an answer to our prayers. However, while some may see the cost of these adoptions as affordable, it is still highly prohibitive to people of modest income. My daughter is an assistant manager and optician for large company. Her husband works as a department manager. Yet, the costs would be beyond them. My question is this: Who is profiting from these adoptions? The company holding them? (Aren’t they being paid for their upkeep anyway by the biological parents?) The biological parents? (And if so, selling children certainly opens up a whole other can of worms doesn’t it?) A ‘transfer of property’, at least to me, as in buying a vehicle or used applicance, shouldn’t be so costly. This is still an example of taking advantage of desperate people.

    1. @Inion, I’m not really sure, honestly, but I will check with Tiffany and Rebecca and find out for you. My family would also not be able to afford embryo adoption at this time. I know the Childs family has done some fundraisers, and fundraising is always an option for adoption. Let me talk to Tiffany and Rebecca to see if I can get some answers for you!

    2. @Inion, Thanks for your questions, Inion. Adoptions are expensive- regardless of what kind. We go to a clinic that has an “in house” embryo adoption program. One of the things we appreciate about them is that they say that they desire all embryos created within their clinic to be transferred into a woman’s body. We did have to cover the cost of medications, pre-transfer ultrasounds, a fee for the Embriologist, a fee for the doctor, and storage fees from the time the biological family relinquished their rights to their embryos. I can only speak for our clinic, but from what we understand, there is very little profit being made from these adoptions. Compared to doing IVF through this same clinic, the cost is significantly less. I hope that helps in answering your question!

    3. @Inion, The biological parents do not profit whatsoever. I know, at the National Embryo Donation Center, the adopting parents cover the storage fees the embryos retained while being frozen. It is considerably cheaper than going through IVF, because the bulk of the expense was in the medication the biolgical mother took in producing many eggs, the egg retrieval, the washing/prep of the sperm, and then the fertilization. You do need to pay for a few exams before the transfer, some ultrasounds, medications, the actual job of matching you with a donor, the ‘mock’ transfer (to see if you are a condidate), a homestudy, and the embryo transfer procedure. The dollar range sited in the article was lower than what we paid. We did have to try EA twice. A benefit of going through NEDC is you pay to be enrolled in the program. THe program allows you to try an embryo transfer 3 times. So, many fees are only 1 time fees. Nevertheless, for us it was still expensive. I’m a stay at home, homeschooling mom. We have many medical bills due to some chronic health issues of mine. It was very difficult. We had family help us out a little bit. We also had 2 garage sales in order to raise money.

  21. I’m sorry to post again but I don’t think my point was made clear. I am suggesting that I had possibly eight fertilized eggs that never came to be born (by natural miscarriage) in order to birth my four children. So a woman undergoing IVF that has 10 embryos, 4 implanted and say 2 that are born, she has lost the same amount of fertilized eggs that I have. And so to do “nothing” with them is like what may have happened naturally anyhow. But Shyla makes an excellent point about reproductive technology. We have a huge mandate as christians to be responsible with technology and ask hard questions before embracing it. And then I think if we can all just adopt healthy embryos, what happens to the millions of already born, likely unhealthy, unadopted children with no families? These are excruciatingly difficult questions that I wouldn’t want to impose on a couple unable to conceive but questions that must be considered none-the-less. British Columbia has thousands of unadopted children in its registry.

    1. @Andrea, I see your thought process, Andrea. It took me a minute, but it makes sense! My only thought there is that with natural miscarriage, it is totally in God’s hands. I believe that, ultimately, God is the creator of ALL, but these babies were artificially created in a laboratory and never given a womb in which they would possibly continue to grow and develop. Those who feel called to adopt these babies feel this is giving these babies a chance at life–the only chance they will ever get.

      You bring up a good point about the health of the babies. I wish everyone could read this: These babies are the ones leftover….meaning, they were not the healthiest of the healthy of the embryos. As Tiffany explained things to me, when the fertility doctors choose which babies to transfer/implant, they always choose the “best” babies first. Therefore, these leftover eggs may or may not be any healthier than already-born children who may have health problems, etc. In a sense, they are the “rejected” ones (maybe not for all parents, though).

      1. @Erin O,

        Erin – it’s not accurate that “leftover” embryos are the worst quality. We placed our “remaining” (we don’t refer to them as leftovers – as in last night’s dinner; they are babies) embryos for adoption and our Adoptive Family actually received the best quality ones out of all our embryos. We didn’t plan it that way; it’s just the way it happened. While it’s true that some are worse quality than others; it’s not always the case. Our embryos were not rejected by us. We could no longer carry another pregnancy and had to make the hardest and best decision of our life. One also needs to be careful in calling these embryos “orphans.” By definition, an orphan is a child without parents. While it’s true that some embryos become orphans, the majority are not. Embryos that are truly orphans, typically cannot be donated or placed for adoption, as the Genetic Family has abandoned them at the clinic, in which they were created. It would not be possible to donate these embryos, without the consent of the Genetic Family, and therefore, more likely than not, they are destroyed. Most embryos are lovingly and painstakingly placed directly into the care of their Adoptive Parents by the Genetic Family, usually via a third-party. If a Genetic Family has taken the steps to place their embryos for adoption and realizes that their children will be raised by another family, it was not taken lightly. Is a Birth Mother’s child an orphan? Just something to think about. I think it’s important to be careful in how we throw around “labels” when it comes to such a sensitive topic. 🙂

        1. @Sheila, Thank you for the clarification, Sheila! I am not sure how it varies per clinic, but the way it was explained to me was that the embryos are not necessarily healthier than an already-born child (Andrea and some of the other ladies voiced concern that people might read this post and want to adopt an embryo over an unhealthy, already-born child). However, since you have been through this, you definitely know more about it than I do! I simply wrote the post to make people aware of what I feel to be a very important ministry to these babies who may never have a chance at life unless they are adopted.

          I apologize for offending you with the term “orphan”! I looked at your blog, and, wow—I cannot imagine the emotional toll of everything you have been through! You–a donor/biological parent–deserve just as much credit in the saving of these lives as the adoptive parents!

          Please forgive my ignorance in the intricacies of this matter. I just want to help spread the word and find homes for these babies! I sincerely mean it!

          Blessings to you! 🙂

    2. @Andrea, I think this is one of the hard aspects of Christian freedom, where we must very carefully and prayerfully consider where the Lord would have US (not anybody else) serve and give and share His love and kindness. For example, some Christians are particularly burdened for the homeless and adults who are struggling with chemical addictions. Others have a specific burden for children living in poverty, perhaps in particular areas of the world. Still others have a desire to help those who are in emotional and mental bondage of various kinds. And other are more passionate about evangelism, especially in areas that are highly un-evangelized. ALL of these are valid ways to show God’s heart of love to those in need, and yet we each have to consider what He has put on our hearts, as individual families.

      I think it’s the same with issues of adoption and care for the orphans. For some it’s domestic adoption, for others international. Some really desire to adopt those with special needs, or older children who are waiting. There may be others who are particularly burdened with embryo adoption and don’t feel that other forms of adoption are right for their family.

      And this is why I am grateful that we are part of a larger body, made of many different people, and of different “parts” that all fulfill their own unique and important roles. God is not limited. His power knows no boundaries or limits. He is able to do all that He wills, and He can lead each of us to the ones in need that He has called us to help.

      I hope and pray that MANY Christians take up the call to adopt and care for the orphans, both old and young, born and unborn!

      1. @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, I fully agree with you Stephanie but not sure how it is a response to my comment. I’m not sure how you got from my comment that I was suggesting that we were all called to adoption rather than to the many different ways of loving the marginalized as you suggest? I know I don’t articulate well, but what I’m pondering is the ramifications of continuing to create and freeze more and more embryos. Not only will these embryos continue to be frozen and not all adopted but it places even more stress on trying to find homes for children who have been waiting for years. What does it suggest to unadopted children when a frozen embryo is chosen over them? I think we need to ask, are we able, with hearts turned to God, to keep freezing embryos—even with this new found concept that they can be put up for adoption? Don’t we need to ask that before fully embracing EA and justifying a technology that chooses the “best” embryos for implant and freezes the rest?

        1. @Andrea, These are all good–but tough–questions I think we all have to consider. I think what we have to consider is that whether we like it or not, there are thousands of frozen embryos out there that are dying if not adopted. Perhaps legislature needs to be pushed for doctors to only fertilize so many eggs per couple, etc. (I have no idea–I am just thinking as I type!).

          As several have said in the comments, I don’t think this option of adoption will eliminate couples who are called to adopt already-born babies or older children. I think Stephanie’s point was that some feel called to different ministries than others.

          One couple may never adopt a baby or older child but would be willing to adopt an embryo.

          One mother may not be able to sustain a pregnancy but would be willing to adopt a baby or older child.

          One family may have older biological children and be “past the baby stage” but would love to adopt more older children.

          I don’t think one form or adoption will eliminate any of the others, as long as we believers are seeking and listening to the Lord’s calling and are obedient to Him.

          Does that make sense?

          There was even one commenter on this post who is currently pregnant with an adopted embryo–her 4th child–but her first pregnancy! So, she adopted already-born children the first 3 times!

          The pregnancy actually helped heal Rebecca’s womb from severe endometriosis. God used embryo adoption to provide her family 3 more children, provide healing for her body AND give these children a chance at life!

          The possibilities for families are endless. It will be neat one day if we can see families throughout the body of Christ that are made up of children that are biological, already-born and adopted and who were adopted as embryos!

          It makes me excited to think about!

        2. @Andrea, Oh, I see. I think that I sort of took your last two statements and though that you were talking about how embryo adoption might take away from those who want to adopt in general. As opposed to what you were really saying (I think), that this issue should cause us as Christians to really consider whether reproductive technology like IVF is something that we can even support/participate in at all as Christians, when we consider the repercussions of all of those embryos that will continue to be created. I agree, that is a difficult but really important question to consider. Thanks for being part of this dialogue!

    3. @Andrea, I know at the National Embryo Donation Center, it is unknown how healthy or unhealthy some of the embryos are. Some have had genetic testing and the sex is known already. They also have a large list of available embryos that have ‘special considerations’ because it is already known that they have significant genetic/health problems.
      I’m sorry that you have lost so many babies. How great to know that if you have repented of your sin and trust the saving work of salvation Christ accomplished on the cross, you can see all your babies some day in glory!!! This is tremendously comforting to the 5 babies we have lost – 1 through natural miscarriage, 2 during a thaw, and 2 after being transferred into my womb.

  22. Great post! I never even thought about something like this. I’m currently pregnant with our baby #2, and my hubby & I have talked about adopting since we were dating. We both know we want to adopt – sometime.
    But recently, he told me that if this baby ends up being a girl (we’re letting the sex be a surprise) then we will have had 1 of each ‘naturally’ and we will adopt all future kids. Obviously, he is feeling a calling – but I don’t feel the same yet. I don’t know if I want to be done growing babies yet! I know it’s not the norm, but both of my pregnancies so far have been wonderful and I enjoy being pregnant. I keep feeling like, “Why can’t I give birth a few more times, and then we can adopt?!”
    Embryo adoption may be the best of both worlds! He will feel that we are adopting – and I will still get to experience another pregnancy. It is possible the he won’t view Embryo adoption in the same way as child adoption, but it’s at least worth talking about! Thank you!

    1. @Selina, I will pray for you as you consider this an option, Selina. May God make it clear to both you and your husband the direction you need to turn in adoption.

  23. This is a subject dear to my heart, because I was ‘adopted’ by my uncle and his wife when I was 12, though not legally. (My father gave them guardianship of me.) If it had not been for my aunt and uncle, I would not be here now (especially not who I am now). I believe that all adoptions (infants, children, embryos) are a wonderful thing, and may anyone who decides to do this be blessed in every way. My husband doesn’t agree, but I am so thankful for each of you that decides to adopt a child and raise them, especially giving them a chance to live and know God, just as God adopted us into his family and into a better life.

  24. My husband and I spent most of 2010 pursuing embryo adoption through the NEDC. Sadly, after 2 frozen embryo transfers we did not achieve a pregnancy but we don’t regret the experience at all. There are 8 souls that are out of the freezer and in heaven waiting for us. We felt God lead us to domestic adoption and brought home our daughter in April. We are so blessed and so thankful for her and we would go through all those years of infertility and pain all over again for her! Thanks for spreading the word about embryo adoption!

  25. Wow this is very interesting. I never knew that others could “adopt” the frozen embryos, but it always bothered me that there are frozen embryos out there. I’ve also always wondered (not that is matters in one way, I’m just curious) if there are any long term issues with children who were “frozen” as embryos. Or maybe its too soon to tell? Again like I said it doesn’t matter as they are still lives but I wondered. It just doesn’t seem natural to me.

    I have a friend who did IVF and it was a very difficult process, so although this is a great option and I think this mom who had the triplets has done a great thing, I know from my friend its not an easy process at all. Of course there are the losses etc. (she experienced this) but also at least where we live a very lengthy process of travelling many many hours to the clinic, finding a place to stay for weeks at a time, without her husband etc. She said she will not be doing it again now because she would not want to leave her child now also to do it again. I am sure some people must live closer by to a clinic but this was an added stress for her.

    1. @Nola, Thanks for the comments, Nola. It is a very interesting topic. I am not sure about the long-term health of the babies. I do know that Tiffany said she has heard of embryos being frozen for many, many years.

      Tiffany really admonishes everyone to count the costs because it has been a toll on her family emotionally to loose so many babies. And, of course, being pregnant with triplets is not easy either!

  26. Another question- anyone know what actually happens long term to the frozen embryos? Do they eventually die from being frozen? Its so sad to think of all the babies frozen…technology can be such a problem sometimes.

        1. @Cutzi, Wow that is quite fascinating. I guess though that you are right that no one probably knows for sure what happens, since its not like its been around for a long time really- I imagine it would have to be at least several generations later. Interesting.

    1. My understanding is that the viability of a frozen embryo begins to decline sharply after something like 7-10 years. I don’t know if they actually destroy the ones that are older than that, but they certainly have very little chance of survival.

  27. I have several friends who’ve done embryo adoption. A few were never able to carry to term, but we are blessed to know a few little ones who are the result of a successful procedure!

    I agree that it’s certainly a God honoring option to consider, even for those who would not choose IVF for themselves or who question whether it is okay. You’re not creating a new embryo, you’re giving an already existing one an opportunity for life! In fact, a few of our friends who’ve adopted embryos wouldn’t do IVF themselves because they question it’s morality.

    Thanks for sharing this great perspective and helping to get the word out on this topic!

    1. @Jenn, I think this sentence sums up this whole post well: “You’re not creating a new embryo, you’re giving an already existing one an opportunity for life! ”

      Thanks, Jenn!

  28. Wow–so many great comments/questions/thoughts! I was so honored to share these ladies’ stories and be able to spread the word about what I believe to be a very important subject. As is usually the case, there was much more the ladies told me in their interviews than I could fit into a blog post. I will try to answer some of these things that I learned through the interviews individually.

    Like many of you, my heart has been pricked for the plight of these frozen ones. They cannot help the way in which they were created, and they are made in the image of God. My family is not in the place to adopt right now–whether it be embryos or an already-born child–but it is something my husband and I have always talked about, and we are definitely open to whichever way He may lead us to adopt in the future.

    I will try to answer some of you individually now. Thanks for reading and expressing your hearts!

  29. Hello,

    I’m Jessica’s EA friend.
    I appreciate you shedding some light on Embryo Adoption. However, you have a couple of errors in your post that I think are important to correct.

    Embryos and Eggs are not the same thing. Eggs, are just eggs. They’re not fertilized. They’re not people. They’re just gametes. Embryos are tiny little human beings. You use the words interchangeably in your post but they are not the same. You said “each transfer or adoption of eggs…” And “not every transfer of eggs results in pregnancy…” Would you be so kind as to correct your post to say embryos in those places? 🙂 It’s ok to discard eggs. It’s not ok to discard people 🙂

    I’d also encourage people not to make decisions based on the cost. I firmly believe that adoption is a calling. If God calls you to a particular route, He will provide the means to accomplish them. Our embryo adoption cost about as much as a traditional adoption. It’s more expensive than a clinic program, but we also have the amazing support of the adoption agency and network of other EA parents, which is not something that clinics can offer. Clinics are great too, but I encourage people not to write off Bethany and Nightlight just due to cost. If that’s what God has for your family, He’ll bring the money.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for shining some light on Embryo Adoption!

    Jen (Mommy to 7 month old Snowflake Matthew)

    1. @Jennifer, Thanks so much for your comments, Jennifer! (And congrats on the new baby!!) I apologize for my misuse of the word “eggs.” I meant “fertilized eggs,” but I should have written that! Rebecca also pointed that out to me. I apologize!

      Thanks for the input on the adoption agencies. Tiffany and Micah are going through a clinic because it was actually their own doctor. I didn’t get to include this in the post, but Tiffany had actually heard about embryo adoption years before they were led to do it while in the waiting room of her doctor’s office! They had brochures that told about it. They have had a great experience with going through the clinic, but she is the one who gave me the names of the two excellent adoption agencies.

      Providentially, Rebecca’s family lives very close to the National Embryo Donation Center, which made it very convenient for her family as well.

      Both ladies stressed to “count the costs” (emotionally, physically, financially) before committing to this. They both definitely felt called, and I would pray anyone who takes this step would have a clear calling from the Lord.

      I am personally tucking this option in the back of my brain, but I know it’s not an option for my family at the present time. I feel compelled to keep sharing about it, though! I get so excited to read about families like yours–and think about how your snowflake baby Matthew may have never been given a chance at life if you hadn’t adopted him. Praise God!

      Thanks again for sharing! 🙂

    2. @Jennifer, Jennifer, you bring up a great point. There are different ways to adopt embryos. The difference is, adoption agencies like Bethany and Nightlight treat these adoptions as tradition adoptions. They do require homestudies and match families. It is a wonderful option for those who want to choose with whom their embryos end up. In our case, a clinic we were already familiar with had an “in house” adoption program where biological families simply relinquished their rights to their embryos and put them up for adoption without having any say in who adopted them. While we chose this option as a means to adopt our little ones, we totally support those going through an agency, of course. The cost was something we did consider but it was more about going through a familiar doc and facility. You are exactly right, God provides as He calls. May He bless you and your family!

  30. This is something that we have looked into before. I agree that a life is a life at conception. I think that it is wonderful to give these lives a chance.

    My personal concern with this process is the hormones that you have to be given before implantation. As an oncology nurse, it just seems like I saw quite a few cancer patients who had had IVF. I know that implanting the embryos is not the same, but when I looked into it, it did look like you had to take these extra hormones.

    I do think it is a wonderful way to adopt though. If I felt the a calling to do this, I would do it, but because of the physical side of it, it would have to be a clear calling.

    God calls everyone to different things. I love the way that adoption mirrors God’s love and adoption of us. We have a wonderful nephew that is adopted. But, he is ours just like the rest of our nieces and nephews and I love that!

    There are so many different options when it comes to adoption. My sister feels led to adopt an older child, & I have always been drawn toward Down’s syndrome children. I am just glad that people are willing to adopt, regardless of the way that they choose. God has a place for these children, and it is wonderful that people are opening their hearts up and adopting. I loved seeing the images in your post above!

    Thanks so much for letting people know more about embryo adoption. I do think it is a beautiful way to adopt. Also, I hope that this form of adoption may someday help people realize that these embryos are babies.

    1. @Rene @ Budget Saving Mom, Thank you for the input, Rene! Your words help clarify some of what Tiffany told me when she said to strongly encourage ladies to “count the costs.” It has been an emotional toll to lose so many precious babies, but there is a whole other physical toll as well. Thank you!

  31. I think that to imply that, if un-adopted, these embryos are doomed to be eternally frozen rather than being “with Jesus” is a little harsh. I like to think of all babies before birth (however that birth comes about) as being “with Jesus.”

    1. @jen, Those are some deep theological thoughts to consider. I do know this–I believe they go to be with Jesus when they die. Tiffany has lost 7 of her adopted embryos, and they all awake her and Micah and their siblings in Heaven.

  32. I think this is beautiful. I had no idea that there were so many “extra” embryos in clinics. It breaks my heart to think that parents would choose to have them discarded. I’m sharing this post on my FB.

  33. I am a subscriber to this blog and I, too, had never heard of Embryo Adoption before either. To be completely honest, my first reaction is dismay. I understand that what people normally consider adoption (children already born and breathing) is an expensive and arduous process. I also understand why people who aren’t able to conceive their own biological children would want to look at every possible option available, and that in the 21st century, this is one of them. But I don’t understand this for several reasons.
    First being that there is an entire world full of hungry, lonely children who go to sleep every night wishing for a better opportunity to come along. Way too many live their entire lives waiting. Embryos are not hungry, lonely, do not have feelings, and do not think for themselves.
    My second issue, and the only other one that I will raise, is that why would infertile couples choose to use second-hand embryos from another couple having fertility issues. These embryos weren’t implanted in the first place because they didn’t compare health-wise to the embryos that did get used. You’re just *asking* to have problems with carrying to full term and actually delivering a healthy baby. Please read this interesting perspective from an MSNBC article: “Snowflakes program had received about 750 [embryos] and had matched 70 donor couples with 48 other couples seeking to have children. Sixteen babies had been born.” (http://on.msnbc.com/pTFb6v) That is quite a substantial loss if you ask me.
    I’m sure I’ll get slashed and burned for sharing my rather negative opinion of the process, but I felt compelled to say *something* about it.

    1. @Allison, Allison, Thank you so much for voicing your thoughts. I was hesitant to respond- of course I have a substantial “ball in the court” when it comes to these issues. I did however want to reassure you that I did struggle with these very same questions when my husband and I began talking about embryo adoption. Before adopting embryos, we did experience a failed domestic adoption as well as difficulties in adopting from an orphanage we both have contact with for different reasons. God kept putting these children- and yes I believe they are children- on our hearts. There was a specific point in time when I asked myself, “if I believe what I say I believe about life and when it begins, why would I not care for these babies as well?” Your point about them not having physical needs while frozen compelled me all the more to be a voice for them. There is no “consciousness” argument for adopting breathing orphans over frozen ones when we define life through Psalm 139:16 or as many others do; at conception. They did not ask to be created and have no choice in what happens to them. They do have needs but are unable to display them. To ignore them is to ignore those made in God’s image and show disrespect to whom He has created. While we have adopted embryos, we still have a heart for all orphans and hope to care for them in all the ways we can as well. I think the call is for everyone to do their part so all the orphans of the world are loved. To be very clear- I am not advocating one form of orphan care over another~ but calling us all to care for all orphans.

      As for your concern about their “viability”- you are spot on. There are many embryos lost. I know that first hand. I feel a great peace knowing I have done my part to care for each embryo we have been given to the best of my ability and allowed God to decided which lives to sustain. They weren’t destroyed in a lab or given to research- My husband and I treated them with the dignity and respect they deserve. This is not for the faint of heart and there are sacrifices to be made to live what we believe~ and to God be the glory.

      Thank you again for voicing what I believe many people wonder about when dealing with this issue!

    2. @Allison, Allison- I can see why you bring up the point that some children are already born and seemingly have more needs. However, I do agree with Tiffany and her points made in her reply. What is key to remember is that whether a child is in an orphanage, a foster home, roaming the streets, or in a freezer, they all possess a soul. A soul that will either go to heaven or hell. A soul capable of bringing great glory to God or that will shame and blaspheme Him. With this in mind, we have an equal duty to help save their souls. The Bible speaks of orphans and/or the parentless and makes no distinction as to which type of orphan we are to help. The value of a person is found in the fact that they have a soul, not whether they can feel, speak, or can eat.

      Many factors go into why a couple would choose embryo adoption as opposed to more ‘conventional’ adoptions. For me, I have SEVERE endometriosis and having a pregnancy would afford me a little bit of help to fight my disease. I wasn’t attatched to the idea that I HAD to carry them and give birth to them, and definitely not attatched to the idea that the baby(ies) had to be mine biologically; however adopting embryos did allow for me to increase our family and save a life all while fighting my disease.

      It isn’t necessarily true that all the embryos that are frozen are not good quality. Many couples have transferred into the wife’s womb only some of the higest quality embryos and freeze the extras – the ‘good’ with the ‘bad’.

      Sometimes, even these ‘poor’ quality embryos still survive. I am living proof of this. On our second attempt at Embryo Adoption, three embryos were thawed. All survived the thaw. The embryologist told us that one looked excellent, one was just so-so, the other looked very badly. She so strongly believed that the quality wasn’t good, that she ‘promised’ us we had no chance of multiples. But I gave birth to triplets! God can accomplish anything. He granted life! He was not constrained by an quality labels doctors and embryologist put on our children!

      Some doctors/clinics do not have that great of success with producing live births through embryo adoption. It does depend on where you go to have the procedure done. Some Ob/GYNs do this procedure, but are far from being experts in this field. At the National Embryo Donation Center, they have an excellent track record. The doctor and embryologist are highly educated and practiced.

  34. I have to side with the few voices of dismay over this topic. While I firmly believe that life begins at conception, and I understand that these embryos are just waiting for their chance to be born, and shouldn’t be destroyed, are we glossing over the idea that maybe they shouldn’t have been created in the first place? Even by well meaning couples, who try to do IVF “responsibly”? Man’s attempt to “fix” something often leads to an exacerbation of the problem, and in this case, I would be concerned that embryo adoption would just serve to easily placate those who otherwise would find this process questionable.

    I think freezers full of potential babies is a huge tragedy, but I’m sorry to sound cold when I say, that I think that all of the millions of children, neglected and unloved in the world waiting for homes is a greater tragedy.

    I know, intellectually speaking, how can we compare life to life? But it’s natural to be more upset/angry about a already born child being neglected and abused, as opposed to a baby at the very beginning of his/her development without awareness of their situation. Yes, they have needs and just don’t know it, but the child left neglected and crying in the orphanage has needs and KNOWS it. I know you made an argument against this idea already.

    While I can be glad about life brought into the world, especially if saved form the brink of destruction, I can’t help but feel very conflicted about this idea.

    1. @Sara, I really think it is good to be conflicted about this because I think there is a reason some of us are questioning this and asking tough questions. It’s a sanctity of life issue. Abortion is an area where we effort to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. When conception happens, then we do everything to save the life conceived. In the same way, maybe we need to prevent embryos from being created, just to be frozen, in the first place. When they are created, yes, then saving the life conceived.

  35. This is an interesting topic that I had never heard about. I think I have mixed feelings about it, but overall I am thankful that couples are choosing to do this. I just hate when couples make, say, 8 embryos for IVF and only implant 2. I know it’s costly, but those are lives!

      1. It is sadder than that. Couples don’t just create those 8 embryos in an IVF cycle. The doctors generally create 10-30 embryos, and then just choose the best looking 8 of them to freeze. All along the IVF journey there are moral milestones to address. When embryos are thawed again later, an embryologist may say they “didn’t survive the thaw,” even though if placed in the uterus, they may implant and flourish.

        I am 100% pro embryo adoption. My husband and I adopted 6 embryos. Our first round we transferred 2, both implanted, and 1 survived. Yesterday we transferred 1. We changed the contract at the clinic we were at so that if the embryologist felt that 1 had not survived the thaw, it would still be placed in my uterus. We don’t want to be responsible for discarding life that God gives.

  36. Thank you for your post. My husband and I were blessed to conceive twin daughters about 4 years ago through embryo adoption. The entire process was a miracle from God; from the transfer of “embies” to the blessing of pregnancy and the miracle of their birth. Every night as I tuck them in, I stand in awe of the gift that God gave us. They were fearfully and wonderfully made; this can be seen so clearly as my oldest twin twirls around singing praises to the Lord.
    In the next year, we plan on beginning the process of domestic fostering/ adoption, and will most likely pursue international adoption after that. We have begun talking to our twins about adoption, and they are very excited about having more brothers and sisters become part of our family.

  37. The Lord has graciously blessed our family through many adoptions – I am an adopted child and an adoptive mother, and after losing my first husband to cancer, my second husband adopted all three of my biological children, and we just adopted a baby boy through traditional adoption this year. Currently, we just completed an embryo adoption/transfer cycle through the NEDC and are awaiting the results.

    We earnestly prayed, sought Scripture and wise counsel from our elders before starting our journey down the road of embryo adoption. There are some that have been critical of our decision to adopt embryos because of their stance that Christian’s shouldn’t be pursuing IVF, which is really a different topic altogether. Our choice to adopt embryos is not an endorsement of IVF anymore than we endorse the immoral lifestyle the birth mother of our son was living when he was conceived. The result of both is still children with living souls that need to be adopted into Christian families.

    I agree with other posters that there needs to be dialogue going on regarding current IVF practices in our country, and Christians should certainly be prayerful and seek biblical counsel before engaging in assisted reproduction. I wept as we were told last week that two of our embryos did not survive the thaw, and all I could think of was, “Why in the world are we freezing babies if it can kill them?”

    The reality is that in our fallen world, man has ventured into areas that he probably should have left alone (but all in God’s providence). The result is that there are babies frozen in time that need Christian families to adopt them and bring them up in the Lord. As much as it breaks my heart that many embryos die when they are thawed, I didn’t make the choice to freeze them. I am glad, however, that the Lord has called my husband and I to rescue the tiniest of these among us!

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