Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Monday, October 10, 2011

EA and race

When you are faced with not having biological children you have few options left to consider. One is adoption and now, through the miracle of modern medicine, is embryo adoption/donation. There is also donor sperm and donor egg, though with these you have many, many choices and usually you choose the donor that is most compatible to you and your partner. When you consider adoption and embryo adoption there are so many variables yet few options. There are a lot of children waiting for families in foster care but not nearly as many babies when considering infant adoption, especially domestic. The same is true for EA. So when you start your journey down either path the first thing you usually decide upon is whether you want international or domestic (for adoption); open, semi-open or closed; health (history of families and health needs of baby); and lastly, race. With traditional adoption it is much easier to explain to an Asian child why their dad is AA and their mother caucasian. Though there are obstacles and prejudices, most people understand adoption. But what do you do when both parents are one race and you give birth to a child of a different race? How do you explain that to not only the child, but to other people? With the newness of EA you have to explain IVF, EA and adoption to those that are inquisitive. When we decided to pursue EA race was very important to us, more so that when we were trying to adopt domestically. Race was important for several reasons. The main one being that my hubby travels. A lot! Because of this there would be those that would assume that I had had an affair. With hubby being in the ministry this would have had the potential to harm his testimony. Many people don't understand EA and to some they would assume that I had an affair and then used this "EA story" to cover it up. It may never had happened this way, but we felt it best not to even go there. Another reason is that my family has a few racists. No, I do not let them dictate what I do. No, I would never allow them to say anything in front of me. But the truth is that they would never accept a child of a different race and I would never want a child to feel different or to be hurt by callous, hateful words said my "family". Hubby's family has bi-racial marriages and children and if they lived near us it would have been great, and would help our child understand differences. But alas, they do not. The third reason is that I want my child to be able to share their story if THEY want to, but not to have to every time we go somewhere. People can be stupid and insensitive, saying things that no normal person ever should. We did not want to have to explain that no, they were not adopted in the traditional sense. Not that adoption is "bad" or negative at all, it just does not accurately describe EA. So, for us, race did play an important role. So, for those of you that have done EA or are in the process, how important was race to you? Did it play a factor in the embryos you chose? If you have a child of a different race how are you dealing with the questions? I know that there are many couples beginning the EA process and could benefit from all sides of this discussion. **Please note: any racial slurs or negativity will be deleted!**


  1. DH and I had many discussions about this when we first started down the road of EA. We also had a few discussions with his parents. Ultimately, we decided that a baby is a baby and a child is a child and race did not matter to us. The first 2 sets of embryos that we attempted to adopt were actually of a Asian nationality. I can understand how this may not be as easy of a decision for others but for us, it doesn't matter what nationality our children are... They will be loved regardless.

  2. We chose embryos of the same race as we are for the same reasons you did. I never wanted to give the impression that I cheated on my husband, and that is the first thought many people who don't know us might have. We just didn't want to even go there.

    Also, I'm not 100% convinced that certain members of my family would do well with a child of a different race. Most would be just fine, but the older people in general just say some of the most offensive things without even realizing that such comments sound so racist today. We just felt like since we had the choice, we would make life easier on everyone and go with embryos of the same race.

  3. Interesting topic!

    We specified that we preferred embryos of mixed race. My husband has dark, olive skin, as do I. He has dark hair and my natural hair color (ahem) is really dark as well. I have dark, almond shaped eyes and often get asked if I am hispanic or part african american. We actually thought that a baby of mixed ethnicities would suit us just fine. Our only concerned how it would be really confusing for a 100% african american baby to understand that I was mommy and M was daddy and that I gave birth to him/her. So, to make it easier on baby, we chose a baby of mixed ethnicity for our EA. For traditional adoption, race would not matter at all.

    PS. My heart is heavy for your family and for Sadie.

  4. We had absolutely no preference on race. It didn't even enter our minds that people would think I cheated on my husband....because to be honest...those who know us know that would NEVER happen. For complete strangers...we don't give a rat's behind what they think! So..when we went for EA (or in our case ...anonymous embryo donation)...we had no criteria other than healthy embryos with a good medical history. And..we got a baby with the exact same ethnic makeup as us...it just worked out that way and we are okay with that of course. But honestly...we knew that a child born into our family, no matter the ethnicity would be loved and welcomed (even though we do have some rednecks among us who might make comments in the background). Now...she was born with jet black hair and almond eyes and didn't look a stitch like any of us so that was fun....but now...11 months later...all I hear is...."She looks just like you". She is the BEST we could have ever hoped for.
    I do understand your reasons and actually find them very valid for your situation....but for us...it just didn't matter.


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