Imagine the world is dark, frigid, and devoid of sensation. You dream of the day when you find a home, surrounded by warmth and loving voices, but that seems far off from this dark abyss. You are frozen – as a human embryo.
It is not science fiction – more than 1,000,000 potential lives are cryopreserved in the United States. In vitro fertilization (IVF) helps families give birth to the child they have dreamed about for years.
Many patients have given birth to the number of children they desire to parent and are now facing a difficult decision about their embryos remaining in frozen storage.
The options are few. Families can:
continue to pay an annual embryo storage fee
have the embryos thawed and discarded
donate the embryos for scientific research (destroys the embryos)
donate for reproduction, either anonymously or directed
In 1997 Nightlight Christian Adoptions, a licensed adoption agency, decided to help families with remaining embryos have more control over donation for reproduction. They pioneered the first embryo adoption program in the world and called it the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program that follows the best practices of adoption. Before Snowflakes, the only way to donate embryos was anonymously through the fertility clinic that created them.
Each embryo was created with the hope a baby would be born. The only life-giving option for remaining embryos in frozen storage is donating for reproduction. Snowflakes allows the embryo placing family to be empowered to choose a family to receive their embryo gift. The adoption home study process vets each adopting family. The adopting family is able to experience pregnancy and childbirth and eliminate the expensive options of multiple rounds of IVF or having to purchase ‘donated’ human eggs.
Open relationships are encouraged for the benefit of all the people involved, the donor, adopter and most importantly – the child. An open adoption allows the placing parents to know if a child has been born to the adopting family. Families mutually agree to the level of communication between them. It can range from simple exchanges of emails to vacationing together! As with any human relationship, we see communications between families evolve over time.
Over 1,600 families have chosen to place their embryos for adoption through the Snowflakes program. Read our special embryo donation edition of Pathway2Family Magazine online.
Learn more about placing embryos for adoption from Jen@Nightlight.org | 970-693-6799.