January 28, 2012

Sereana's story

At some point within the last five years, this little girl was conceived.  In a test tube.  Using her biological father's sperm and an egg-donor's egg.
She and three other embryos were extras, and were frozen in case the parents who ordered their conception ever needed them.  They did not.  The embryos remained frozen, and would have eventually been disposed of, if this couple hadn't adopted them.
They named her Sereana, a family name.  She is ethnically Jewish and Italian.  Her adoptive father hails from Fiji, and her adoptive mother is from Wisconsin.  The pair, who do what we do (only in Nepal), tried for seven years to have children.  Their fertility doctor suggested in vitro, giving them a fair chance of success with their own...ingredients.

"However," he told them, "with your great uterus, you would have a fabulous chance with an adopted embryo."

A what?

Heather and her husband had never heard of such a thing, and neither had I until we met them in Thailand last week.  The two of them decided not to make more embryos, when thousands of babies who had already been created sat frozen.  It was a perfect fit for them, and they went for it.  

Rather than choosing to go through an adoption agency, a process which would have required a home study and would have come with a price tag of around $20,000, they heard through the grapevine of a doctor in L.A. who handles this kind of thing out of his office.  He took Heather on as a patient, and matched her up with another patient who had extra embryos and was willing to sign over the rights to them.  The whole process, including medical and legal fees, cost them just over $4,000.  

Heather, who was thrilled with the match, thinking Sereana's ethnicity to blend nicely into her mixed-race marriage, was implanted with two of the four embryos.  She and her husband were prepared for twins, but only Sereana began to grow.  Heather received hormone injections every day for 10 weeks, after which time she and the baby and their amazing pregnancy were on their own.  Last week, Sereana was born, in a Thai hospital, a perfectly healthy little miracle.

When Heather and her husband are ready, they will undergo the process again with the other two embryos, with the hope of giving their daughter one or two biological siblings.


I wanted to post Sereana's story because I didn't know about embryo adoption, and I thought maybe you didn't either.  To adopt or donate embryos through an adoption agency, Heather recommends:

For the inside scoop on the inexpensive route that Heather took, let me know and I'll give you Heather's email address.  Your local doctor could do all the preliminary work, but then you would need to travel to Los Angeles for the actual procedure.  Heather said she would be more than happy to answer any questions, or help in any way she can.