For many families, the low cost of embryo adoption is the greatest benefit. It gives hope to couples whose savings may have been depleted through expensive fertility treatments or who may have already spent large sums of money adopting a child domestically or internationally, but who want to continue to add to their family.
Having full knowledge of their child's genetic and medical history is another reason parents make this unique choice. Anyone who creates embryos by in vitro fertilization must undergo rigorous medical testing to ensure the resulting babies are healthy; therefore anyone adopting them is guaranteed that the biological parents were in top physical condition, free from disease and drugs.
In addition to these safeguards, even if the biological parents decide to remain anonymous, they must create a comprehensive medical history for as many generations as they are able so adoptive parents can see if illnesses like cancer or diabetes run in the family. Anonymous donors also have the option of including pictures of themselves and of any children they may already have, and they can send informative letters to hopeful parents.
Many families choose open adoptions and get to know each other before making such a huge decision, and some keep in touch years later via email and letters. The Dejongs preferred an open adoption because their two older children have contact with their birth families and they wanted to make sure their youngest son had knowledge of his biological family, too.
But what truly makes embryo adoption so unique is that it allows infertile couples to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Anika Dejong says, "Pregnancy was a lot of fun. I absolutely loved being pregnant and felt great the whole time." Those nine months of morning sickness and tiny kicks help new parents bond with their babies and prepare for parenthood, as well as let women join the ranks of their peers swapping labor and delivery stories for years to come!