Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Deciding what to do...

with your stored embryos.

Is the first sentence on the letter that landed in our mailbox yesterday.

Image credit

When we started  IVF and completed the consent form, which asked questions about storing embryos and what to do with them when you no longer wanted them stored, I have to admit I didn't really think about having to actually make the decision.

You complete this form at the beginning of the treatment. When you have no idea if it will actually work or what the hell you are getting into. When there are is no baby in your arms and no embryos to store.

We are one of the lucky ones and we now have a baby in our arms and stored embryos. Every day I am thankful for IVF and the precious gift it has given us. If we lived in a different time we wouldn't have our beautiful children.

Now I look at this letter and feel sick about the decision that faces us.

There are five choices when deciding what to do with your stored embryos.

Keep them and pay $500 per year.

Discard, but use for training. The embryos would be thawed and then used by the scientists to continue to improve techniques.

Discard. The embryos are thawed and then disposed of. Some patients opt to collect their embryos once they are thawed to put them in a special place. A further option is to have the embryos transferred into the uterus at a time when pregnancy could not occur.

Donation to another couple. There is a lot of criteria that you need to meet to donate to another couple. If you meet this criteria you can choose a couple to donate the embryos to and your details are added to the NSW donor register.

Donation to research. The embryos would be thawed and then used in research projects. At the beginning of any research you are told about it and have the opportunity to say that you don't want your embryos included.

Hubby and I are certain that we don't want any more children. We are beyond happy with the two healthy happy children we have, our little miss and little mr.

Now that we are faced with this decision I am an emotional mess. My heart aches for our little embryos. Every time I think of them I see my kids and tears flood my eyes. I think of them as our little babies.

This will be one of the hardest decisions of my life.


  1. Christ, Sam! That is hard. So very hard. We did IVF also, but we don't have any embryos stored. I remember signing that form aswell. At the start you are just so bloody keen on getting a bub, you don't really let yourself think further than that. At least I didn't anyway. Good luck with your decision. I don't envy you. Whatever you and your husband decide will be the right decision. Sending massive huge gigantic hugs.

  2. Oh Sam, I can't imagine being faced with such a decision. But it is such a personal decision, there is no right or wrong choice do whatever is in your heart and makes you feel the most comfortable. Sending thoughts your way x

  3. Wow, it never even occurred to me that this was something that needed to be done. What an incredibly difficult decision to make. I am sure you and your husband will come to the decision that is right for you and your family. My thoughts are with you.

  4. What a huge decision, if you feel like you could imagine what a gift it could be to another couple. As an egg donor I know how precious those embryos are and I can't imagine having to make suc a difficult decision. Huge hugs xx

    1. They are so precious. You are so wonderful to donate your eggs. xo

  5. I would hate to be on your position hun, wow, what a biggie, do you have a timeline? Maybe just let it be for awhile, if you can afford to let things just be, and maybe when you are ready to come to a decision you will be able to make the right one xxx Em x

    1. Hey Em, pretty much ASAP now or else we can just pay another $250 to keep them another 6 months. Thanks lovely. xo

  6. Oh that is such a hard decision. I don't even know how you would start to go about processing that.

  7. Do you know that I never knew about this until now. I have held hands with friends as they go down the IVF path, but have never questioned what happens to the unused embryos. I can imagine this must be very difficult. Whatever you decide will be ok. All options are positive in their own way. Best wishes!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  8. Thank you for sharing this Sam, wonderful post. I have to admit that I had no idea that this kind of decision needed to be made by people who'd undergone IVF - just had no reason to ever think about it. I feel your agony and have no idea what I'd decide to do. Best wishes x