We adopted five little babies…the littlest that babies can be. Embryo adoption (or snowflake babies)—until recently, we did not even know that there was such a thing. Our babies are two-day-old cleavage stage embryos. There are five of them and they have been frozen for 21 years. These babies were conceived 21 years ago. Their lives have been on pause for 21 years. These five little image bearers, five little frozen souls, are now our babies. And there are hundreds of thousands, maybe even over a million, more out there just like them.
Basically, how embryo adoption works is, first, you adopt one or more frozen embryos, donated by families that chose to give their leftover embryos an opportunity to be adopted. There are open and closed embryo adoptions. Our embryo adoption is closed, so the donor of our embryos is anonymous. However, we have profiles of our babies’ biological parents that exclude their names, so we do have a medical history for them. Once you have the embryo(s), you then set a date for embryo transfer. After tests and hormones and other medications to prepare your body for pregnancy, the embryo(s) is/are thawed and transferred to your uterus in an outpatient procedure. Then, 10 days after transfer, you take a blood pregnancy test to confirm if the embryo(s) implanted and survived. Once pregnancy occurs, your body does all the things it would do if you had conceived on your own. Typically, you keep taking extra hormones for a while though.
I started taking hormones this month to prepare my body for pregnancy. Everything with my lining and hormone levels looks great, so the plan is to transfer 1 or 2 of the embryos into my uterus this Friday. The doctor prepared us for the thawing of the embryos. The expectation was that only one or two of our embryos would survive the thaw because of the age of the embryos and the older cryopreservation methods. Because our embryos are only two days old, they needed to be thawed four days ahead of transfer, so that they can grow into the blastocysts before they are transferred, to increase their likelihood of surviving the transfer. We went into this day knowing that, most likely, three or more of our babies would die. This was heavy on our hearts, but we knew that they would be loved and they would no longer be in limbo. We pray for and love each of these little ones.
I did not expect a call from the doctor’s office today, so when I saw an incoming call from my doctor’s office around noon, my heart lurched. “Why are they calling?” I wondered. “Did none of our babies survive?” I answered the call and found out that all five of our babies survived the thaw! So now, we will see how they develop between now and Friday. We were told that each embryo has a 50% likelihood of surviving. Depending how many survive, they will transfer up to two on Friday, and the remaining living embryos will be frozen again for future transfer. I feel like I am living in world where science fiction is reality!
We never thought we would announce a pregnancy before it even happened. But we also never expected to carry children that genetically came from someone else. We wanted to share this with you so that you can love these littlest babies with us and pray for them with us. Please pray that they live, that the transfer is successful, and that they are healthy. We know that, whether these precious little ones survive or not, they are in the hands of a loving God who has a plan for them and for us. He knits little babies together in their mothers’ wombs… and sometimes even in petri dishes. We know that He is the Author of life, and that these little image bearers matter to Him even more than they matter to us. Pray for our hearts, as we trust Him, and as we learn to trust Him more.