Today Maddie and I were outside when our neighbor came out and started talking to us. She has only seen Maddie about 2-3 times and she commented on how much she looked like me. I forgot that she did not know how Maddie came to be and I mentioned how ironic that it is considering she is not genetically related to me. She had a funny look on her face so I explained that she was from a donor embryo. Her face lit up and said "Oh! A Snowflake baby!!!". Imagine my surprise that she knew all about EA. There is actually a couple at her church that did EA through the NEDC a few months ago. This began a conversation about EA. She had a really good grasp on the concept (she is in her 50's and never struggles with IF so this was a bit unusual) but there were a few things that she had the wrong idea about.
There are hundreds of thousands of embryos available.
While there are over 400,000 embryos currently in storage, there is only a small about available for adoption. My neighbor mentioned that a few other couples wanted to do EA to save these little embryos. While I applaud their willingness to help rescue them and give them a chance at life, in reality it would take opportunities from families that had no other options. Many of the frozen embryos are awaiting their parents to thaw them and give them a chance, while some are sitting there until their parents decide what to do with them. Sadly, many of them will end up discarded or used for research. With more education about donation options maybe that number will change one day, but until then there is not an abundance of embryos available for adoption.
Embryo adoption is the same thing as embryo donation.
Yes. And no. Technically they are very different. However, the term is used interchangeably. While we did embryo donation I still feel like we adopted Maddie as an embryo. The real difference between the two is the process. With EA you must have a home study and is treated as an adoption. This route gives you the option of an open adoption. ED on the other hand is done more like donor egg or donor sperm cycles and is almost always anonymous.
EA is expensive.
This is another yes and no answer. Fertility treatments are not cheap no matter what. But in the grand scheme of things EA can be less expensive then IVF. ED even less. I know of someone that spent less than $3000 for everything with ED and someone that spent over $16,000 for EA. It all depends on whether you want a more traditional adoption or go through a clinic and do ED.
With ED you don't get a medical history.
Yet another yes and no answer. Clinics really vary on this one. My clinic gave us a comprehensive medical history on the donor parents, their parents, grandparents and siblings as well as any children they may have. Some clinics give nothing more than hair color or eye color. I am a firm believer in getting as much of a health history as possible and wish that all clinics did so.
Babies born through EA are not really "yours".
This one is a big, fat false!! Regardless of how a child came to be a part of your family (donor eggs/sperm, adoption, EA/ED, etc) they are most definitely yours. As for feeling "different" about a child not genetically related to you I can assure you that is not so. At least not for me. Maddie is "mine" and I could not love her more.