Did I Need To Make Extra Embryos to Have a Baby?

from The Wall Street Journal,

VF gave me my children, but as a pro-life Christian I wish I had known there were other options.

At 33, after experiencing infertility for several years, I reluctantly turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF). A fertility specialist advised my husband and me to pursue the usual course of IVF, which involves using drugs to stimulate the growth of multiple egg follicles. These eggs would then be retrieved and fertilized with my husband’s sperm in a lab. The best embryo would be transferred to my uterus while the runners-up would be frozen for future use. We were told it would be unwise to waste any more time or money on other plans. I’d been dreaming of motherhood since childhood. So when the doctor encouraged us to move forward with the most powerful and effective method to achieve pregnancy, I agreed. Photos of newborns on the clinic walls made this advice hard to resist. We drained our savings for the $27,000 IVF package, which included four potential rounds, and prayerfully signed on the dotted line. I couldn’t stop imagining a newborn in my arms, even as I wondered if IVF would ultimately violate my Christian faith. IVF ultimately gave me my two children, for which I am eternally grateful. But multiple embryos remain on ice, which breaks my heart. The embryos that became my children were simply chosen first. Each embryo already has the genetic blueprint that sets each of us apart. We all began the same way, at conception. When someone creates excess embryos, the options are to destroy them, donate them to science, offer them to other hopeful parents or freeze them indefinitely. With over one million frozen embryos stored in the U.S., many couples pay for storage for years, unsure of how to proceed.

Like the justices of Alabama’s Supreme Court, I’ve come to see these embryos as children.

Maybe one day they’ll have a chance to see the sun. I left other viable fertility options on the table because no one told me about them. Later, I learned about natural-cycle IVF, which involves using a woman’s natural cycle to retrieve a single egg, inseminating it outside the body, then transferring it back to the uterus when it has the best chance of success. The procedure creates one embryo at a time, making it an appealing option for those of us who believe that life begins at conception.

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