It was early in the 1980s and I was blasted into a life with secondary infertility. I really didn’t understand: We were good parents to our little boy. We loved children. Ours was a good, not a selfish desire. Why wouldn’t God grant our most heartfelt request? And so began several years of tests, surgeries, research, prayer, discussions, exploration of options. It was exhausting, as any infertile hopeful parent knows.
At one point our fertility physician suggested In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It was costly, but the finances were something we would tackle. But it didn’t take long for my husband and me to get to the question: What happens to our unused embryos? At that time there were two options:
- Have them destroyed
- Donate them for research
We are a Christian couple, and we value life from the moment of conception. With only those two options, IVF was immediately off the table for us. We knew that with the medication to super-ovulate we would likely create way more embryos that we could care for. We would not destroy these lives.
It would be a decade or so later that embryo adoption would become another option. With 500,000 frozen embryos in the United States, and about 50,000 children being born through IVF each year, clearly there is an abundance of embryos.
As early as 2005, President George W. Bush expressed his support of embryo adoption. “I have just met with 21 remarkable families. Each of them has answered the call to ensure that our society’s most vulnerable members are protected and defended at every stage of life. The families here today have either adopted, or [relinquished] for adoption, frozen embryos that remained after fertility treatments. Rather than discard these embryos created during in vitro fertilization, or turn them over for research that destroys them, these families have chosen a life-affirming alternative. Twenty-one children here today found a chance for life with loving parents.”
For individuals and couples with Christian values wondering if embryo adoption fits in with their beliefs, the best advice is to carefully and prayerfully consider the option. Speak with a religious leader; counsel with your spouse; seek counseling from a reputable Christian embryo adoption center. As with every method to create a family, the choice is between the couple and God. What is right for one, may not be right for another. But when wondering if embryo adoption is congruent with Christian values, ask yourself: Is saving a life and loving a child who joins our family through embryo adoption any less noble than saving another life?