You may remember reading a post back in October that said we had chosen to adopt a profile with 12 embryos. We chose this profile because each profile has certain fees associated with it (ie. shipping, storage, genetic parents' STD testing, etc. ). We knew that it would be extremely likely that we would only have to thaw embryos from one profile of 12 and thus avoid paying fees associated with more than one profile (turns out, God was super kind and this profile had no fees at all!). Knowing that we only had one more embryo transfer attempt with the NEDC, we knew that if I didn't get pregnant this 3rd time, then the remaining embryos would automatically be released to another adopting couple. However, if you do become pregnant and have a live birth, your 3 attempts start over again, so the NEDC will reserve any genetic siblings for you to transfer in the future. In early December, after finding out the exciting news that we were pregnant with twins, we discussed what God may lead us to do regarding the remaining 8 embryos that were not thawed for our November transfer. I know many people struggle with this because they feel a bond with the genetic siblings and feel called to adopt all of them. However, for us this just wasn't the case. We emailed the NEDC in December saying that we would like to release the remaining embryos back into the pool for another couple to adopt. Our reasons were as follows:
1) We didn't want their lives to be on hold any longer than necessary. Every day that we reserved them for our unknown future was another day they would be left frozen. We felt it served them best to allow them to have a chance at birth asap.
2) Realistically, we don't know when we could return for them. Our adoption funds are depleted now and I would probably need to go back to work to fund another adoption and the plan for now is for me to stay at home with the twins.
3) It is quite possible that after twins, our family may be complete...maybe not. We are leaving that in God's hands. But, if we feel that our family is not complete, we will then seek the Lord in what direction to build our family (another kind of adoption or if we pursued embryo adoption again, we would just choose new embryos that aren't genetically related to the twins). For our first two adoptions, we used all of the embryos in each profile. For this 3rd adoption, I knew we would probably have embryos remaining so I specifically prayed for multiples so that the decision to not keep them would be easier for us. God answers prayer!
A part of us is sad that our children will potentially have lots of birthed genetic siblings that they will never know, but the twins will be part of our family and that will be what is most important.
I want to say that these are not black and white reasons for every family to release their remaining embryos! These are simply the reasons that we felt God leading us to do such. Also, I know for Snowflake adoptions, this is more difficult because you always have an open adoption and the genetic parents are often not comfortable with releasing their embryos to multiple families. However, with a closed adoption at the NEDC, it is just that easy. We simply release them and they could be adopted for the next transfer cycle. I also know that for the NEDC couples who have open adoptions that this is still not the right choice for them or their genetic/donor families either (for the same reason I gave for open adoptions with Snowflakes). It is often not the right decision for a closed adoption either for various other reasons. No matter what God leads each embryo adopting family to do with any remaining embryos, we rejoice that these frozen lives are getting a chance at birth when they would often have been discarded or left frozen indefinitely.