Frozen embryos go up for adoptions

May 19, 2009 9:00:00 AM PDT
During in-vitro fertilization, the egg and sperm are joined in the lab and then the formed embryo is transferred to the woman in hopes of a pregnancy. But there are always extra embryos left over. A Houston couple arranged for the adoption of their frozen embryos.Four year olds Kylie and Mackenzie and 6-year-old Camden are the much loved children of Carrie and JJ Hill. They are the product of years of infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization.

"Once you've been through infertility you truly understand what other people are feeling," said Carrie Hill who struggled with infertility.

Across the country in Charlotte, North Carolina, Kara and Charlie BonDurant have 8 month old twins.

Emily and Audrey have a close resemblance to Kylie and Mackenzie because 8-month-old twins, born to the BonDurants are biological siblings of the 4-year-old Houston twins. They were adopted as frozen embryos.

"Had a lot of years wanted to have babies of my own...and we do now," said Kala BonDurant.

Embryo adoption fills a need for both couples. Kala and Charlie spent 12 years trying to have children. Carrie and J.J. had to use in vitro fertilization to conceive their twins. They had 9 embryos left over.

"The option was to thaw them out and let them discard them or to let science have them and we just didn't feel like ethically that's what we needed to do," said Carrie.

Their solution was embryo adoption. It was through the Snowflake program of the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency, in California. They tell Eyewitness News 203 babies have been born, after being adopted -- as frozen embryos. Donor couples like Carrie and J.J. get to choose the parents for their embryos.

"We both thought wow this is a good match," said J.J.

The BonDurants got custody of their nine embryos.

"I look at them in the crib a lot and I still can't believe it," said Kala.

When Emily and Audrey were born 8 months ago, there was joy in two cities.

"I think it's awesome," said Carrie. "There are no words."

It works like a regular adoption. The cost is born by the recipient. They pay about $5,000 for the application and $10,000 to $15,000 to transport the frozen embryos and for medical treatments leading to implantation. There's no cost to the donor, and no profit -- at least monetarily.

"Just seeing the pictures, oh they're so cute," said Carrie.

"We see pictures of their family and they see pictures of ours and that's a glimpse sorta what the future may be," said Charles.

The families have never met, but they talk of their amazing bond.

"There will always be this place in my heart for her. And there will always be a place in my heart for her. It's a beautiful gift," said Kala.

"It's very easy to love them because they have those beautiful babies," said Carrie.

They even chose the same Bible verse for their baby announcements.

"For this child, I prayed and the Lord has given me what I ask," said J.J.

"They're a part of us and will always be for what they've given us," said Kala.

The difference between embryo donation and embryo adoption is the donor couple can choose the parents in an embryo adoption. Legally though, once an embryo is donated, the biological parents relinquish all rights.

-----------------------------------

Christi Myers is ABC13's Healthcheck reporter

        Health page | 100 most recent health stories | Christi's bio
              Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments