Embryo donation or adoption: How does it work?

A woman who donated left over embryos to a couple struggling to conceive has spoken of her joy that they have gone on to have two children

Rebecca Henderson has become best friends with Kelli Gassman due to their extraordinary story.

Rebecca and her husband, Chris, spent ten years trying to conceive before they had IVF.

The procedure resulted in the couple creating 13 viable embryos, of which two were implanted into Rebecca, resulting in the couple’s twins, Abigail and Rachele.

The rest were frozen. But due to the trauma that Rebecca went through in her first pregnancy, the couple decided they did not wish to use anymore of the embryos.

The couple were left with the hard decision on what they wanted to do with their 11 frozen embryos

After thinking long and hard, the couple were still not sure what to do with them, so put off making a decision.

But by some miracle, Rebecca, 43, became pregnant naturally, and were so delighted by the turn of events, they made the decision to allow embryo adoption.

Rebecca told The Mirror: “There was no way we were going to destroy them and we didn’t feel comfortable with donating them to science or to a stranger.

“We began researching online and discovered something called embryo adoption where the ownership of the frozen embryos can be signed over to another couple, so they can have them implanted and bring the children up as their own.”

The couple signed up with an adoption agency and it wasn’t long before they came across Kelli and her husband, Dan, both 45 at the time.

They met, which is quite unusual in the adoption process, but Kelli insisted that the Hendersons were a part of their journey.

Kelli became pregnant soon after with son, Trevor and went on to have a daughter, Aubrey, in 2014.

The two women are firm friends and visit often. Rebecca did admit that it was hard at first to see the children, but dealt with the grief and moved on.

The families often spend special occasions together and the children have all met each other now.

Kelli said: “I’m so grateful for what Rebecca and Chris did for us and I’ll always want them to be part of our lives. No amount of thank yous will ever be enough.”

Embryo adoption

Embryo adoption is generally more common in the US than the UK, though it is possible in the UK through a US embryo adoption agency.

It costs on average $24,000 for one attempt at pregnancy.

The time it takes to go through the process is about six months.

The average success rate is about 24 per cent for frozen embryos.

The first baby born through embryo adoption was in 1998 via the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program.

Embryo donation

Embryo donation is more typically used in Europe but also in the US

The embryos are donated by people who have finished their fertility treatment

According to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, embryo donation is recommended for couples who have had problems trying to conceive through I”I’m so grateful for what Rebecca and Chris did for us and I’ll always want them to be part of our lives. No amount of thank yous will ever be enough IVF or have a serious medical condition that could be inherited by children.

The clinic you choose to use will work to select a donor that has similar characteristics to match those of you and your partner.

The donor would have been screened for serious diseases

 

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