I’m Laura, wife to Rob and mom to Arlo. (And dog mom to our black labs, Manny and Ford.) Our journey to becoming parents was not an easy one. We began trying to expand our family in April of 2014, but we were very unsuccessful. After 17 months of trying, we were diagnosed with male factor infertility. We decided to go ahead with IVF w/ ICSI and it went incredibly smooth until it came to fertilization. Out of 19 eggs only 14 were mature and only 5 fertilized. We transferred 2 day 3 embryos and froze 2 embryos on day 6. Our first transfer ended with a negative pregnancy test and our second transfer ended in a very early miscarriage. I did not want to go through the IVF process again because of how emotionally draining it was. Besides not wanting to go through IVF again, we also felt a draw towards embryo adoption because of our faith. We matched very quickly with awesome donors via Instagram! (@the_infertilizers if you want to check me out.) We encountered several problems along the way, but persevered through them one by one. In November of 2016 we flew from Ohio to Arizona to transfer 2 more embryos. We found out the day after Thanksgiving we were pregnant. We had our baby boy on August 6, 2017.
What led us to pursue embryo adoption? At our “WTF appointment” following our 2 failed transfers, we learned that in addition to male factor infertility we likely had egg quality issues too. We were told then that several of my eggs were “degenerate” or dying. That news coupled with the stress that came with poor fertilization reports I could not do IVF again at that time.
As Christians, we believe life begins at conception. Going in to a round of IVF my biggest fear was what we would do with embryos we couldn’t use. Through research I found embryo adoption. While we once planned to donate our “extra” embryos, I began to feel called to adopt someone else’s embryos and thankfully my husband did too. I knew I could give someone the piece of mind that their embabies would be raised in a loving, Christian home. I prayed that God would have the perfect people contact me about donating, and believe it or not, our donors contacted us just days later on Instagram.
How did I cope with infertility? I never had a huge struggle with being infertile, I was simply ok with it. I think the reason I could accept it was because of my faith. I did rely heavily on scripture, especially promises God gave, and worship music. I am a huge fan of Elevation Worship and so many of their songs gave me hope and encouragement during that season of my life.
What was the hardest part of the journey? After I was pregnant I really struggled with accepting the loss of my own fertility. I had thought that I was fine with it but doubt creeped in. I think the biggest factor was close to a year had passed since we had started the IVF process and my memory of how much I hated it had faded. When I miscarried our last two embryos we were going through some other trials that also required grieving and I don’t think I grieved the loss of our last 2 embryos either. Now that I’m on the other side I can see that Arlo was meant for us and most of the time I forget that he’s adopted! I think of the verse Ephesians 3:20 often, which says, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…” I could have never imagined how my story would unfold, but God knew.
Did you choose open/closed adoption? We have an open relationship with our donor family. Our donor mom has become one of my best friends and we text almost daily. I send her lots of pictures of Arlo and keep her updated weekly if not daily.
The most valuable piece of advice I could share is consider embryo adoption/donation. If you are thinking about donating embryos it’s the best gift you could ever give.