Does life begin at conception? If so there are thousands of frozen children just waiting for a chance to continue their lives, but in doing so may present significant challenges to the adoption laws as they currently stand. They eliminate the hurdles of conception, and the process is significantly cheaper than In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Nicknamed snowflake babies, these frozen children may be the answer that you, and many other couples are looking for.
Who Are The Snowflake Babies?
In 2012, there were 165,172 IVF procedures performed on women in an effort to make them pregnant. As a result of these procedures, 61,740 resulted in a baby being born. What many people do not know is that these babies very often have brothers or sisters who have not yet been born.
In an effort to reduce the cost, and increase the possibility of conception, during the IVF process multiple eggs are harvested and inseminated, which results in them growing into embryos. Due to the increased risk to the mother and child, only one or two of these embryos are actually implanted into the mother's womb. In the past, the rest of the embryos have been frozen, but from these frozen embryos have been handled in a wide variety of ways.
- Stored for future use by the couple
- Donated to be used in research
- Frozen Indefinitely
- Thawed and discarded
As the number of these frozen embryos in storage continued to rise, questions began to be asked about what would happen to these embryos, especially as their parents continued to age, or agreed that their families were already complete. Indefinite storage can get expensive very quickly, with most facilities charging an initial fee which is then followed by an annual or monthly storage fee.
This created another option, which is the option to donate the embryo to an infertile couple which will give them the hopes of having a baby. The concept of embryo adoption was then created to help give these snowflake babies a home.
How Does The Adoption Process Work?
When a couple decides to donate their fetus for adoption, the adoption takes place at this stage of life. In some states this adoption is as simple as the donating couple filling out a form pertaining to their intent to donate their frozen embryos. Once the receiving couple has been chosen, and receives the donation, the adoption is complete. In other states it is much more complicated.
The beauty of the process is that the receiving couple does not have to wait until the child is born to file adoption papers. Once the adoption is complete, the fetus is then implanted into the uterus of the adoptive mother, which allows her to carry the child, and deliver the child as her own.
Donation Can Be A Difficult Decision
Donation can be a very difficult and emotional process. Although donating parents want to do the right thing, and give other couples the ability to be a parent, it can still be a very complex decision process. Even those who are committed to the process are often plagued with the unknowns.
Snowflake babies are literally the brothers and sisters of the child that the donating parents may already have. Most parents want the assurance of knowing that their babies are being raised in a good home, by good people. Some couples are willing to make the donation only if they can have contact with the receiving couple, while others do not want to know anything about the couple or child at all.
If the donating parents were not successful in the IVF process and carrying a child to term, their frosties could represent any remaining chances and hopes that they have of becoming parents. Even if that has been proven to not be a reality. Giving up these hopes and dreams can present a mixed bag of emotions. On one hand, they are able to give another couple the ability to carry their child to term and parent their child, even if it is not a chance they will get.
What Do You Need To Do?
Unfortunately, without federal laws to govern this process, the legalities and the processes involved can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you are interested in exploring the option of adding a snowflake baby to your family, contact a family law attorney to see what the process will involve in your state. They will be able to advise you, as well as provide you with additional resources to hopefully make this a reality.