Holding Thoughts Lightly

When you have struggled for so long to build your family, it almost seems impossible to think about doing something with your embryos other than using them, and then saving them. I know when my daughter was under 2 years old, it was a feeling of reassurance that we had two embryos in storage. If my worst fears became reality, and something happened to her, it was a consolation that I still had the potential to try for another child. This thought was based on my fears and anxiety. Anxiety is a constant companion in the infertility journey, when the uncertainty of whether we’d even be able to become parents was a heavy burden.

As our daughter got older, I started evaluating my thinking. I had done the work in therapy to accept that our family was complete with one child, but we still had two embryos left. So much time, energy, and money went into creating them, I couldn’t consider simply discarding them. And as appealing as a “compassionate transfer” sounded (transferring them to my body at a time when there was a very low chance of pregnancy), that still felt like discarding them. By keeping them in storage indefinitely (the easy default answer), it seemed like I was giving into my anxiety.  If I didn’t really need them as “back-up”, then what did we want to do with them?  Donating them to science felt like a worthy use for them, but that’s not really a viable option.

I started exploring the idea of donating them. Even without getting into the recommendations emphasizing a donor conceived child’s access to their genetic contributors, I knew I would want a (potential) child to have access to us, to answer any questions they might have and have a relationship that met their needs (whatever they may be). I also knew that I would want my daughter to know her full biological sibling. So anonymous donation wasn’t an option I wanted to pursue, which was the only option available at our fertility clinic. Initially groups on Facebook provided ideas and considerations. As the embryo donation field developed, some of the best educational information I found is at Empower with Moxi. There are numerous religiously affiliated organizations that offer matching and educational resources as well. 

A number of factors played into our decision to donate our embryos. We had the privilege of being able to go through IVF and have embryos that were unused. Sharing that privilege, and possibility of having a child, with another family who has struggled, felt right at an intuitive level. 

Through the recovery from the anxiety that accompanied infertility, I realized I could let go of my fear and embrace an abundance mindset. Our daughter brought an abundance of joy into our life, how could I not take steps to offer the possibility of that to another family? It fits our values of generosity, inclusion, and commitment to allow the process of life to unfold rather than trying to control it.

The personal experience of infertility and subsequent involvement in embryo donation, has allowed Dr. Diederich an intimate perspective to third-party reproduction. Her company, Sweet Springs Consultation and Assessment, can help you navigate through the steps of third-party production, considerations around donating your embryos, egg donor evaluations, evaluations of gestational carriers, and even questions you may have about how to form a relationship that you want with your donor recipients! Whether you are in Pennsylvania, New York, California or in one of the other 38 other states that Dr. Diederich can practice in virtually, she can help you along your journey.

Embryos, Third Party Reproduction




Holding Thoughts Lightly