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Questions I don’t want to ask: IVF vs. embryo adoption



Is this right?


While researching IVF/FET I stumbled upon information on embryo donation and embryo adoption.

At first I had day dreams of having embryos left over and giving another couple, or an individual, the chance at her/their own child.  What a glorious and noble dream!

Last night, though, that tune changed and I found myself unable to sleep. My mind raced around a question my cousin posed when I visited her two years ago, well before Mr. Husband and I had even tossed the birth control.

“With our crazy family history, I wonder if we should even be passing on our genes?” she asked.

Even then this put a lump in my throat. Last night I sat in the guest bedroom crying, wondering if we were making the right decision by chosing to go through IVF?

Hear me out:  I have autoimmune disease. I have bunions. I have anxiety. I come from people with a history of mental health problems and addiction, with cancer and multiple sclerosis, with obesity, joint problems, and infertility. This is my blog, not Mr. Husband’s, so I won’t detail the traits and medical history from his side that might worry us, but suffice to say, we all have some genetic baggage.

Last night I could not get my cousins voice out of my head. Do I really want to do this to a child? Is this even humane? Could I be infertile for a reason? Could the universe be telling me I am not supposed to continue this line of dysfunction?

I have been reading profiles of families offering embryos for adoption and I see people listing a slew of traits I wish we offered: no known health problems, athletic, graduate degrees, Magna Cum Laude, beautiful, etc. What would my profile look like? Artistic, writer, athletically challenged, Bachelor’s degree, C student, autoimmune, joint problems, thinning hair, poor eyesight, etc.

I have not talked to Mr. Husband about this. He is so busy looking for jobs right now that I’m not sure he is ready for this lump of shit to be dropped on his plate.

I just don’t know what to do. Next week my period is due to start and I am to go for my SHG test and then begin the round of birth control pills before the official cycle begins.

I am overwhelmed and feel there is nowhere to turn for answers to these questions that seem so vile I don’t know if I can even read them out loud.  



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  1. December 13, 2011

    You are most certainly not the first person to think that you might be infertile for a reason, like maybe you shouldn’t pass on your genes. I think that sometimes, and I’ve read other people’s posts about that gross little thought worm that wiggles its way into your brain and doesn’t leave. I don’t have an answer. But believe me, you aren’t the only one who thinks that sometimes. All I can say is that we have options humanity has never had before, more choices and better odds. It’s not just genes that we’re passing along anymore like single-celled organisms, survival-of-the-fittest style. We are also passing along the no-necessarily-genetic parts of being a person, our personalities and lifestyles and values and beliefs. So… I don’t know.

  2. December 13, 2011

    I can’t imagine what you must be going through right now, such a difficult decision to face.

    Just remember, although they may look perfect on paper it does not mean they are exempt from health issues in the future or that they could pass on things that may seem trivial.

    Overall it is your decision. You know your body and history best. I wish I could offer more help then that but I do send lots of love and support!

  3. December 13, 2011

    I always wonder if people we would consider fantastic genetic material wonder if they should pass that material onto other people. Do they find things wrong with themselves or do they think, “Who wouldn’t want a baby made out of us? Those people would be crazy!”

    We’ve also had the “Should we even be passing our genes on?” conversation. Even if we shouldn’t, I keep thinking about seeing the funny faces my husband makes on the face of a toddler or hearing them say something and sound just like him. Yikes, I need to stop this comment right now or I’ll cry all over your blog.

    The questions aren’t vile. They’re reasonable and need to be asked if you’re going to do this. If we were supposed to be permanently infertile then ART wouldn’t exist. That’s what I keep telling myself. 😉

  4. December 13, 2011

    I think it’s natural to be asking these questions. Sometimes it really does feel like some divine force is against us. But I do know that children are a combination of genetics and environment and that you can’t take the poor genetic background that you and your husband have and say that’s it for the kid. I’m sure there are some great genes you could pass down, one of which… HEIGHT! Not to mention however you have children, they are going to be SO wanted and SO loved that there’s no way the kid wouldn’t turn out to be awesome.

  5. December 13, 2011

    Belle everyone has genetics that would be better off not being passed on. What about all the positives you will hand over? Being kind, and caring and articulate ? Will they definitely be passed on? Will they even be a problem when the baby is an adult ?

    Nature still has a say, a big say , even in ivf. And I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again : cancer is not natures way of saying you should be dead. Epilepsy is not natures way of saying have a lie down , and infertility is not natures way of saying you shouldn’t procreate. It’s just natures stuff up. It’s faulty logic ignorant outsiders who fall pregnant by blinking use to try and exclude others from natures exclusive club. Well bugger that. You get out there and you do everything you can to bring a thin hair poor eyesight intelligent articulate soul into the world. You’d be a great mum.

  6. December 13, 2011

    Throw in diabetes and I’d be willing to bet we’re related. And that’s just my mother’s side.

    I have to admit, we’ve never considered that maybe it wasn’t meant to be for that reason, but I promise you, I’ve wondered just about every other reason.

    And I agree with Katie. That’s what ART is for.

  7. December 14, 2011

    Here at Robin’s suggestion via Stirrup Queens. These are questions that hadn’t crossed my mind and I can’t imagine how difficult they are to consider. Thank you for asking the hard questions. You have my prayers during this difficult time and good luck this cycle, no matter which path you pursue!

  8. December 14, 2011

    Well, don’t forget that those people with “outstanding” embryos up for adoption were also infertile….I don’t think infertility means you aren’t meant to reproduce, it’s just a harder path to travel. I think in the end, you will appreciate you children no matter how they come, so much more!

  9. December 14, 2011

    The traits of a person are environmental as well as biological. Both dh and I have a history of mental illness, but I feel like thats made us the strong people we are. No genes are perfect, even the “perfect ones” have flaws.

  10. December 14, 2011

    I think ozifrog said it very well here. The only person who can make this decision for you- ultimately- is you. In the end I think it is a matter of what/how far you are willing to go. If biology is important to you and the finances are in line, one possibility is to try IVF with your eggs and see how it goes. If it fails you could re-evaluate the situation and then choose to try DE.
    There is one thing I can tell you with certainty Belle… it’s that nothing in life- nothing- is ever going to be certain. Knowing that, does the view look any different?
    Love and light…

  11. December 14, 2011

    Belle, we all have genetic baggage. And even if someone has less than another person, we know that environment plays an equally large role in the health of a human being. So contrary to what most people think, there is no magic formula to a perfect child. The best thing that we can offer them is unconditional love and acceptance.

    I’m so sorry that you’re feeling so overwhelmed. It’s a hard decision to make. But my thought is that is you want to try for a biological child, do it. Don’t let anyone else in this world outside of your doctor or your husband convince you otherwise. And even with the doctor, get a second opinion. If you’re concerned that you’ll pass on your autoimmune condition, talk with you RE about options. PGD technology is rapidly evolving and is accessible to any couple who wants it. Sending you love and light

  12. December 14, 2011

    I wish there was some magic wand to dispel these torturous thoughts from your mind, Belle. Sometimes our minds can just be our own worst enemy creating even more suffering for us. Infertility is difficult enough as it is. I can only agree with what other people have already said. Infertility is no more ‘meant to be’ than any other cause of suffering in this world. If nature or God or the universe did make such choices about who should have children, why then are babies born everyday into untenable situations by mothers unable to take care of them and love them.

    As for genetics, this is a complicated matter because inherited illnesses and other dispositions frequently skip generations and it is always influenced by environment. Most of what we humans suffer from might not even be inherited in any direct sense. Apart from a few very specific and serious conditions which have been clearly proven to have a high chance of being passed on directly from parent to child. In such cases there are tests that can be done to try to avoid that. But we always have to remember that we are human beings, not farm animals in a breading program where the name of the game is to genetically optimize the population in order to maximize returns. No one is genetically perfect and there is no way to protect the children we dream of having from the ills of this world. No matter their genetic make-up we can be sure they will encounter trials, tribulations and suffering in some way or another. All we can do is love them as the beautiful human beings they will be – just the way they are! And try to help them cope with whatever life will throw at them.

  13. December 14, 2011

    OH.MY.GOSH.!!! Get my voice out of your head! I hate hearing my own voice in my head let alone thinking it’s in someone else’s. My belief on the whole genetic thing is this: I feel that people at a young age (Junior High Health Class perhaps) should understand that by procreating you are sharing genes with another human being to create another human being. Yes, we are taught these things in Science Class but what we are not taught is to consider health and mental health histories of other people. When I talk to professionals and friends alike about that voice in my head (and now in yours..sheesh!) that questions why in the hell I would pass on our family genes I continually get this answer: It is nature for humans to create more of themselves or to want to parent. To ask the questions you are asking will make you a better parent because IF your child has any of the “negative” attributes you think you can pass on you will be better at knowing how to care for them. (IE: addiction- by knowing this is a inherited family disease you can have a dialogue with your children about its reality and if your child happens to become an addict you will know how to deal with it better than the last generation of family members)
    Like all of your wonderful and wise commenters have never know what you will get. Parents with bio kids, parents of adoptive kids, you don’t know what issues your child may have. Trust me, every time I deal with an ailment that my kid has that stinkin voice wonders if this is something genetic..something I did. In reality, it can be environmental, it can be spiritual (meaning our children’s souls are here for their own reasons not just ours) it can be my husbands genes..gosh darn it (blame it on him:) Belle, I was young when I decided to have a child. Yes, I am blessed everyday to have had an easy time of it. However, you are far more wise than I ever was when considering the history of yourself and your husband into the mix of creating a child. This is heavy stuff for anyone wanting to be a parent no matter what avenue you take. Parenting is so huge, containing every single emotion possible. Yet it is the most beautiful when you desire it as much as you do. By going into it being open-minded, educated and full of love you have already been a better parent than 90% of people out there. I NEVER regret the choice we made to start a family & am grateful for the lessons I learn with each “non perfect” thing I have to deal with because with another perspective it is PERFECT and just how it should be..Your family will be the same way.

  14. December 15, 2011

    Oh, I’m so with you. Sometimes I feel this way too. Especially since my husband has male factor, his sister had multiple miscarriages before successfully have a baby and his cousin has male factor. I’m just thinking is that a sign that this family isn’t meant to procreate? And then when I think about my insanity merging with his insanity? I just get overhwelmed by it all. But then I remember that it is not the way the world works. People with tons of genetic baggage end up with perfect babies and people with no genetic baggage end up with babies with problems. You never know what is going to happen. But as long as you love and care for that baby as best as you can, the genetics of it won’t matter because you’ll be doing the best you can by him/her.

  15. December 15, 2011

    I think ozifrog said it perfectly. I had all the same thoughts about maybe I am infertile for a reason and I shouldn’t move forward. I said this to my Hubby and he told me that if we were not meant to try the option would not be out there. There are cures and treatments for so many other diseases and issues in the world why not infertility. Please talk to Mr. Husband. Sending you my love and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  16. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row #
    December 15, 2011

    Been there, considered that. Have no answers, but damn, are we related??? xoxo

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