Rachel and James matched with their donor family after about 3 weeks of using NRFA! Through embryo adoption, they now have a beautiful almost one-year old baby boy! We got to talk with Rachel about their embryo adoption story and matching process through NRFA. It was insightful, encouraging, and full of hope even through their ups and downs.
What led you to embryo adoption?
We had tried IVF twice and the doctor concluded that our eggs would not make a baby. We depleted bank accounts, maxed out credit cards, and had no money by the time we were finished with IVF. And egg donation sounded too costly. Someone had told us that we should look into embryo adoption. I belonged to a Facebook infertility support group and the subject was brought up, then all of the sudden people came out of the woodwork talking about their experiences with adopting embryos. Once we researched it a little more, it sounded like a better option financially and we started to like the idea of building our family in this way!
How long had your family been looking to receive embryos prior to registering on NRFA.org?
When we first learned about embryo adoption, I talked with my fertility specialist and learned more about going through a clinic with an anonymous donation. My fertility specialist wanted us to go on a waitlist for it. It sounded to us like we’d be “standing in line” for a long time on that wait list. Then I looked into matching privately and found out we could still be proactive and in pursuit of building our family.
I’m very thankful to everyone who was involved with NRFA. I had very little knowledge and just went by word of mouth of those who have used the website. I literally would not have my son if NRFA was not around.
How long was it before you were contacted or made contact on NRFA.org?
It was very quick for us. I think it was maybe 3 weeks. After we signed up, we messaged about 5 families that we thought would be good fits. We had some good responses back. Out of the first batch of messages we sent we thought that surely one of them would work out as our perfect donors.
What special connections or commonalities have you noticed between your family and your donor’s family?
We have a lot of things in common! They are baseball fans and we live in a state that is a baseball nation. The donor is an artist and I went to school for art. The donor works at a college I was thinking about going to when I was younger. But more than anything, our personalities and desires are similar. Our donor family was looking for people in any other situation that they would be good friends with. We have similar humor, priorities in how to raise our kids, world political views, favorite TV shows, and similar hobbies that we seem to see eye-to-eye on. It was so great but bizarre at the same time. It honestly sounded too good to be true when we first matched. It was like the stars aligned.
Describe how the process of matching, legal contract, and medical planning went?
Once we got the official word that our donor family was willing to move forward with us, everything moved quickly. It became a similar process like traditional IVF. Medical bills still came. We were so happy and had the urgency to do the transfer quick.
We didn’t want to rush anything but wanted our donor family to know we were so excited and eager to build our family! They became some of our biggest supporters.
The transfer went really smooth and we lucked out with a good support system and resources to go to if we needed help.
What has been the biggest surprise to you throughout this process?
I didn’t realize how in love I would be with the family that donated to us. I thought, of course, that they would love us because they’re helping us to build a family but they have truly been our biggest support system. We keep in touch very regularly. If heaven forbid, our transfer wouldn’t have worked, I still think this was a family that was meant to be in our lives in some capacity. They have added such a friendship to our lives. They are our family.
What encouragement would you give to someone else going through this process?
A lot pf people will say “keep the hope and faith” and I was never really like that. I think it’s okay to say, “This didn’t work out, what are the next steps?”
Be easy on yourself, the road to having children is a journey no matter what avenue you take.
There are definitely parts of embryo adoption that can be tough. It’s okay if not everything feels “rosey” all the time. Every tear cried and every dollar that you had to beg for will make sense in the end once you do become a parent. It’s okay to say once in a while “I’m feeling unhappy, sad, or frustrated” if that’s how you’re feeling.