Friday, September 13th, 2013
There are so many people out there who want so desperately to be parents but after years of trying and rounds of expensive IVF, they still have no luck getting pregnant. On the other side of the baby gate are people who’ve frozen embryos during IVF treatments in hopes of prolonging their chances of becoming parents. Often (thankfully) people are able to get pregnant without using all of their frozen embryos. As weird as it sounds, then the question becomes: “What do we do with the leftovers?”
More and more people are deciding to share their embryos with women who are having trouble conceiving. Like one Oregon couple featured in Time, who had kept their extra embryos frozen for 19 years after having twins through IVF—just in case they one day wanted to expand their family. But once their kids were in college, they decided it was never going to happen, and donated their four remaining embryos to a single woman in Virginia, who is now the proud mama to 9-month-old Liam.
More than 154,000 cycles of IVF were performed in 2011—and the number is likely to be higher for 2013. So it’s no surprise that there are currently hundreds of thousands of leftover IVF embryos in storage in the US. Mostly because it’s hard for someone to “throw out” their embryos, knowing that it has the chance of becoming a baby—even when they feel they’re past their baby-making days. So some of these embryos are frozen for years, meanwhile the couple is paying hundreds of dollars in yearly storage costs. While many decide to keep them indefinitely, others are deciding to throw them away—either because they won’t need them, or they can’t imagine having anyone else raise their biological children but them.
Obviously, having someone else use your embryos to get pregnant is not for everyone, but the new phenomenon is giving infertile couples a chance at having children, and allowing the mom the experience of childbirth—which she wouldn’t have by using a surrogate or adopting. So in the end, there’s a happy ending for everyone.
TELL US: What would you do with your leftover embryos: keep them indefinitely, dump them, or donate them?
Image of frozen embryos courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Monday, July 8th, 2013
Lots of women (and, yes, even men) have dreamt about what sort of—and how big of—a family they’ve wanted ever since they were little. Some dads want a “mini me” to throw the ball around with; others want a little girl to spoil, while moms might hope for a shopping partner to dress or a doting mama’s boy. But not all couples have to leave whether they have a boy or girl up to chance.
Did you know that the United States is one of the few countries in the world to allow parents to choose their preferred gender of baby during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? It’s called Pre-Implementation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), and after enough eggs are harvested for IVF, the eggs are implanted with sperm and only three days after fertilization scientists know whether the embryos will be boys or girls. A couple chooses which sex they prefer and only the embryos of the desired sex are inserted into the uterus (of course, a couple using IVF can choose to have both male and female embryos inserted as well).
England is one of the countries that still has a ban on this type of gender selection (other than in extreme medical cases where a horrible genetic condition is only passed down to one sex). But now some doctors are speaking out in the Telegraph, saying families have a right to choose their baby’s sex regardless of their reasons.
I understand why people are scared of this sort of technology—it’s something straight out of a sci-fi movie, where a crazy dictator decides to kill off all the women to form a “superior” race. And it’s not that far from reality. If used in parts of the world where they prefer boys (like Asia), it could lead to a shortage in compatible mates. In China, where they highly favor boys, and there’s a major push to abort female babies, The State Population and Family Planning Commission has already predicted by 2020 roughly 30 million Chinese men will be unable to marry on the account of gender imbalance.
That said, if I was given the chance would I want to choose whether my second child was a boy or girl? Yes! With my first, I was one of those people who truly didn’t have a preference. I was just so happy to be pregnant that I didn’t care what came out of me as long as it was healthy. Though, I knew friends who really had their hearts set one way or the other, and they were actually devastated when they found out that they were having the opposite of what they wanted. There was actually a period of mourning for a bit before they could truly be excited about their baby again.
Now that I have an amazing son, I would love to have a girl to see the other side of the baby bond. I could finally indulge in all of those fantasies of buying an adorable pink tutu and taking my daughter out for real tea with scones after years of imaginary tea party play. I’d have someone to pass down my mom’s jewelry to, and to give advice about boys. In my dream scenario, I cut out the part about mother-daughter drama that inevitably comes with the teen years!
TELL US: If you were able to, would you choose to have a boy or girl, or would you leave it up to chance?
Image of twins courtesy of Shutterstock.
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babies, baby, Boy, Embryos, fertility, Gender Selection, Girl, In Vitro, In Vitro Fertilization, infertility, IVF, pregnancy, pregnant | Categories: