Why Didn’t You Pick Me

By on April 6, 2008

The numbers are staggering. There are thousands upon thousands of left over frozen embryos sitting in storage. Depending on how you look at this – these could be potentially thousands of little children if given the chance to thrive and grow.

As I talk to couples who have children via egg donation and who have embryos “on ice”, in the “deep freeze” or what have you I hear a lot of the same things, over and over.

“In the beginning we wanted lots of embryos because we knew we wanted at least four children. Now that we have two (we had twins), we are tapped out money, emotionally, physically, and time wise. Two is good. I always thought I’d just donate all my left over embryos to another couple who like us who wanted to grow their family. Now, after I have my two amazing children I am not so sure if I want to do that anymore. These are potentially my children’s siblings that will be wandering the earth.”

“We always said if we have left over embryos we will just donate them. Now that I had my son I can’t even imagine parting with these embryos. These are MINE – I had a baby with my husband, these are OUR children. I just can’t imagine giving them to someone else.”

“I don’t know what to do with our left over embryos. The idea of letting them thaw and die makes me ill. The idea of donating them to science and having them dissected makes me ill. If we donated them to another couple and they had children we’d have another family in our lives and is that in the best interest of us and our children?”

“Can we donate our embryos and not tell our child that he may or may not have another sibling out in the world?”

Is it really just a strand of DNA? Does it really matter to us where our children come from? Many of us really pushed the limits wrapping our minds around the process of egg donation. We have our children, and then we hold our embryos with all our might because we can’t bear to part with them.

So my question is — If our egg donors didn’t part with their eggs we wouldn’t have our children – so why do we feel so weird about parting with our left over embryos we are never going to use?

The other part of this that makes me say “hmmmm” – and worries me a bit is all these kids who are born from donor embryo. Are they going to have the same issues that some children who are adopted have?

“Why wasn’t I picked the first time around? Why was I donated? Was there something wrong with my embryo?”

Maybe I am reaching – but I don’t think it’s all so black and white. And it’s stuff like this that keeps me up at night.

1 Comment
  1. Reply


    April 7, 2008

    It’s a question I ponder everyday and is exactly why we’re pay $500 per year to keep our embryos frozen, despite being 99.9% certain we will not have more children. We graciously accepted the gift of our donor but selfishly can not give away the gift of our embryos, because as an egg they were a dna and as an embryo they are child(ren) we may never know.



Portland, OR

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April 2008
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