twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Adopting a 'Snowflake Baby'

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Ever hear the phrase, "Better living through science"? I'm sure the thousands of couples who've surmounted infertility through advances like IVF would be inclined to agree.

frozen embryos and baby fetus

Vivian Manning-Schaffel: In the process of IVF, couples harvest and produce many embryos. Those that go unused in the first transfer are cryogenically frozen in case the transfer doesn't take, or as in the case of Celine Dion, the parents would like to try for another child later on. But what happens to those leftover embryos when a family is complete, or the parents divorce?

"You have three choices: You can dispose of them, donate them to science or to another couple," explains Dr. Ashim Kumar of the Fertility and Surgical Associates of California. "With the third option, another couple can adopt the embryo and go forward with the transfer. It's the same as IVF, but the preparation for it is a lot easier, because it requires fewer visits to the clinic. You still prepare the lining of the uterus for the egg, you just don't have to extract the eggs."

This third option, also known as embryo or "snowflake" adoption, is slowly growing in popularity, although it requires wading through a proverbial minefield of legal and religious issues. There's the whole adoption vs. stem-cell research debate -- sort of a science vs. science issue, if you will. And a few prominent snowflake adoption clinics make no bones about their religious affiliation or pro-life stance. In spite of claims against religious discrimination, this staunch positioning may be off-putting to, say, a nice Jewish couple surfing their site for leads or answers.

Karen Roeb, Clinical Administrator of Fertility Miracles, a division of the American Fertility Institute, explains that snowflake adoption is much like traditional adoption -- in theory. "The process is a little easier than adopting a child. Psychologically it's almost the same. You still get to experience the birth. When a donor donates, she gives up all legal rights to any children that are produced -- even the egg. She's not entitled to the child or the embryo."

This could get sticky as some of these snowflake agencies promote an open adoption policy. But if an open adoption is something you're open to, snowflake adoptions can be a great fit. "I had a couple who donated 30 embryos, ten each to ten different couples, and it resulted in three sets of healthy twins," says Dr. Kumar. "It's a huge benefit for couples who want to have more children but can't afford donor eggs. Embryos are being destroyed, and this experience is positive in every aspect."

Just ask one of his clients, a Canadian physician (who asked to remain anonymous) struggling with secondary infertility. After four failed IVF cycles, she discovered Dr. Kumar's embryo donation program and is now 12 weeks pregnant with twins.

The couple is grateful to have found themselves in the right place at the right time, as their experience was far lighter in red tape than many snowflake adoptions. "I don't want to portray our situation as the norm because it's not," she explains. "From talking to other people, their experiences have been a lot more protracted or prolonged. A lot more people go through agencies rather than clinics because a lot of them don't have a lot of embryos. But the legal process can be rather long. There were a lot more steps. There are long waiting lists and home studies. And there's always more demand than supply."

The choice of embryo adoption happened to fall in line with the couple's personal belief system. "When we were doing IVF ourselves, we felt strongly that we didn't want our embryos to be destroyed because we considered them to be life. We wanted to donate them and help a family. It was hard being on the other end of that, but at the same time, we were so grateful there were people out there who were willing to do the same," the mom-to-be explains.

Theirs is a closed adoption at the donor's request. "We were open to the possibility of an open adoption when we started looking at it, but the donors wanted to be anonymous and we were fine with that," she says, clearly thrilled about the prospect of being a mom again. And genetic codes aside, she's completely bonded with her gestating twins. "I thought that I might feel differently in this pregnancy, but I don't," she says. "We've seen the twins on the ultrasound and heard their hearts beating ... they are our children and that's all there is to it."

next: Was Casey Anthony Competing with Caylee?
95 comments so far | Post a comment now
Maribel Riccardo March 1, 2011, 7:13 AM

These reasonably post are perpetually inspiring and that I choose to scan quality content so I happy to find many good purpose here within the post, writing is simply nice, thanks for the post

Leana Handshoe March 1, 2011, 2:46 PM

Wow, this was a real quality post. In theory I’d wish to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a decent article… but what am I able to say… I keep putting it off and never seem to induce something done

Dominga Rielly March 2, 2011, 1:02 PM

I can’t suggest you sufficient for the efforts and skills for what you’ve got submitted here. There need to be nobody to be able to get to the purpose more than you.

Raphael Gesinski March 2, 2011, 3:19 PM

Hello. magnificent job. I did not anticipate this. this can be an incredible story. Thanks

Denver Versaw March 3, 2011, 12:48 PM

Pretty insightful publish. Never thought that it was this easy in the end. I had spent a superior deal of my time craving for somebody to clarify this topic clearly and you?€?re the only one that ever did that. Kudos to you retain it up

Berta Kalenkoski March 3, 2011, 3:39 PM

Thank you for your nice article it’s been extraordinarily insightful. I hope that you simply will continue sharing your knowledge with us.

Claudio Bartosik March 4, 2011, 9:47 AM

This article receives a 2 thumbs far from me.

Jadwiga Tainter March 4, 2011, 4:18 PM

It is very attention-grabbing for your articles. I will be printed on other sites it would be helpful for those who are interested. and that I will link back to your site.

Ileen Gregston March 4, 2011, 7:49 PM

Thank you for your great article it’s been very insightful. I hope that you just can continue sharing your knowledge with us.

Angelia Lepage March 5, 2011, 8:46 AM

Hello, a useful browse buddy. Thanks however I’m having problem with ur rss feed. Unable to subscribe to it. so anybody else having identical rss feed issue? Anyone who will facilitate kindly respond. Thanks beforehand

Alvaro Burner March 5, 2011, 11:15 AM

Please tell me that youre getting to keep this up Its so sensible and so vital. I cant wait to scan way more from you. I just really feel such as you apprehend thus substantially and knowledge to form people listen to what you might need to say. This weblog is simply still cool to be missed. Terrific things, seriously. Please, PLEASE keep it up

Teddy Legions March 5, 2011, 1:59 PM

It is unusual for me to discover something on the net that’s as entertaining and Intriguing as what you’ve arrived. Your page is nice, your graphics are outstanding, and what’s additional, you use supply that are relevant to what you’re saying. you are definitely one in an exceedingly million, good job

Alton Guerro March 5, 2011, 6:30 PM

I wanted to thanks for this attention-grabbing I undoubtedly loved each bit of it. I actually have you bookmarked your net website to envision out the newest stuff you post.

Rima Swendsen March 6, 2011, 4:20 PM

I want to mention thanks for this

Deena Neagle March 6, 2011, 7:35 PM

Keep your posts coming. I really like reading through your stuff. Thanks for your insight.

Curtis Bracaloni March 7, 2011, 10:02 AM

Please never let your opinions and Insightful knowldge be squelched, shaped, or distorted. the knowledge you provided here despite its complexity or simplicity has made a serious impact on my epistemological groundwork and will not be forgotten. Livestrong blogger

Catarina Simonetti March 7, 2011, 12:35 PM

Heyo, I have a weblog moreover, but it’s overrun with spam. Your web site appears to be decently freed from that garbage. What do you employ to get rid of it?

Thomasena Casella March 8, 2011, 10:12 AM

I simply digg upon your website and that I truly saved it accommodating,you’ll be rewarded to your efforts?

Santo Cusenza March 8, 2011, 1:22 PM

Hi I like your post and it was thus informational and that I am gonna put it aside. One factor to mention the Indepth analysis you have got done is trully exceptional.Who goes that further mile these days? Well Done :) just another tip you canget a Translator for your Worldwide Audience

Jarred Creeks March 8, 2011, 8:41 PM

thx for this post very informative

Back to top >>