Wedding Woes

I don't want to loan out my embryos

Dear Prudence,
My husband and I have two beautiful toddlers who were born through IVF, and we are fairly certain we’re not going to have more kids. My sister-in-law survived a very aggressive form of cancer but none of the embryos that she and her husband made were viable. They tried to use a pregnancy surrogate, who miscarried. It has been a heartbreaking five years for them. My sister-in-law desperately wants to have a child biologically related to her, and has increasingly brought up our “leftover” embryos. Her husband is my second cousin, once removed, so the child would be related to both of them.

My sister in-law will make a great mother but I blanch every time I try to picture someone raising my biological children. I am possessive without evening (sic) knowing if I want these potential children to exist. I am uncomfortable and resentful that my sister in-law would even bring this up to us, but then I feel bad because of how much she has suffered. My husband wants to make his sister happy. Am I being a horrible person here? Part of me wants to delay this by claiming I’m not sure we’re done having children, so I don’t seem like the harpy unwilling to give her sister-in-law a chance to be a mother. I just can’t stand the thought of seeing my niece or nephew and knowing that they are my child. I really need some clarity here, please help me.

—Not Mine

Re: I don't want to loan out my embryos

  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    At some point, the IVF clinic or wherever your embryos are stored is going to come to you and tell you that you either need to donate them or they'll be destroyed. If it were me, I'd rather see them used than destroyed. I can understand wanting to put it off until you were absolutely that you were done having children, though. 
    Vivandiere8
  • Hard decision regardless.
    Friend of mine has 2 kids and her brother and his boyfriend approached her to see about being a surrogate if adoption is an option for them.
    She loves her brother and loves the idea of him and his boyfriend being parents, but has same feeling about the idea of her biological children not being hers to raise.

    End of the day, it's LW's embryos and her choice but should definitely talk to her H about it.
  • I think the sister is wrong for asking more than once and/or pressuring LW.  

    However, devil's advocate, these embryos are half her husband's.  Why don't his feelings matter?  If he wants to help his sister out, why is he wrong?  

    I think they need to talk and/or need counseling to get on the same page.  This is like any other family issue, IMO.  It's really between her and him, not the sister.  Due to the nature of this particular situation, they need to be in agreement and present a united front.  It doesn't help LW or her feelings if her H seems wishy-washy because then it could be an ugly situation where LW is blamed (unfairly, IMO) for not giving her SIL a baby. 

    OliveOilsMomSP29kimmiinthemittenVivandiere8
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I think the sister is wrong for asking more than once and/or pressuring LW.  

    However, devil's advocate, these embryos are half her husband's.  Why don't his feelings matter?  If he wants to help his sister out, why is he wrong?  

    I think they need to talk and/or need counseling to get on the same page.  This is like any other family issue, IMO.  It's really between her and him, not the sister.  Due to the nature of this particular situation, they need to be in agreement and present a united front.  It doesn't help LW or her feelings if her H seems wishy-washy because then it could be an ugly situation where LW is blamed (unfairly, IMO) for not giving her SIL a baby. 

    Not to start an argument, but legit question. How are they half her husband's? If they were not together, those embryos would still be LW's
    {fyi regardless, I do believe they should have the conversation together}
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I think the sister is wrong for asking more than once and/or pressuring LW.  

    However, devil's advocate, these embryos are half her husband's.  Why don't his feelings matter?  If he wants to help his sister out, why is he wrong?  

    I think they need to talk and/or need counseling to get on the same page.  This is like any other family issue, IMO.  It's really between her and him, not the sister.  Due to the nature of this particular situation, they need to be in agreement and present a united front.  It doesn't help LW or her feelings if her H seems wishy-washy because then it could be an ugly situation where LW is blamed (unfairly, IMO) for not giving her SIL a baby. 

    Not to start an argument, but legit question. How are they half her husband's? If they were not together, those embryos would still be LW's
    {fyi regardless, I do believe they should have the conversation together}
    Were likely created with his sperm. Often when couples divorce if there are embryos "left over" (that seems like the wrong wording) there needs to be provisions in the divorce decree about who "gets" them or what is to happen to them. They both have clear claims to them. 
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    mrsconn23 said:
    I think the sister is wrong for asking more than once and/or pressuring LW.  

    However, devil's advocate, these embryos are half her husband's.  Why don't his feelings matter?  If he wants to help his sister out, why is he wrong?  

    I think they need to talk and/or need counseling to get on the same page.  This is like any other family issue, IMO.  It's really between her and him, not the sister.  Due to the nature of this particular situation, they need to be in agreement and present a united front.  It doesn't help LW or her feelings if her H seems wishy-washy because then it could be an ugly situation where LW is blamed (unfairly, IMO) for not giving her SIL a baby. 

    Not to start an argument, but legit question. How are they half her husband's? If they were not together, those embryos would still be LW's
    {fyi regardless, I do believe they should have the conversation together}
    They're half his because they're embryos and not just eggs. He's fertilized them. They'd have to agree on ownership if they got divorced.
    SP29
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Not to start an argument, but legit question. How are they half her husband's? If they were not together, those embryos would still be LW's
    {fyi regardless, I do believe they should have the conversation together}
    They're half his because they're embryos and not just eggs. He's fertilized them. They'd have to agree on ownership if they got divorced.
    Just did some research on this and usually the courts side with the person who does not want the embryos to be implanted because the father has the right to not be a father. 
  • mrsconn23 said:
    I think the sister is wrong for asking more than once and/or pressuring LW.  

    However, devil's advocate, these embryos are half her husband's.  Why don't his feelings matter?  If he wants to help his sister out, why is he wrong?  

    I think they need to talk and/or need counseling to get on the same page.  This is like any other family issue, IMO.  It's really between her and him, not the sister.  Due to the nature of this particular situation, they need to be in agreement and present a united front.  It doesn't help LW or her feelings if her H seems wishy-washy because then it could be an ugly situation where LW is blamed (unfairly, IMO) for not giving her SIL a baby. 

    Not to start an argument, but legit question. How are they half her husband's? If they were not together, those embryos would still be LW's
    {fyi regardless, I do believe they should have the conversation together}
    They're half his because they're embryos and not just eggs. He's fertilized them. They'd have to agree on ownership if they got divorced.
    Were likely created with his sperm. Often when couples divorce if there are embryos "left over" (that seems like the wrong wording) there needs to be provisions in the divorce decree about who "gets" them or what is to happen to them. They both have clear claims to them. 
    Oh I didn't realize they were fertilized ones. Brain didn't make correlation that eggs =/= embryos ... I apparently need to go back to school.

    Oops!
    DrillSergeantCatSP29
  • mrsconn23 said:

    Completely agreed, but my point is that his feelings are just as valid as hers and they don't seem to be exactly the same at the present time.  They need to get on the same page fast because she can't have him out there presenting anything other than "This is OUR decision," because it could get uglier the longer there's any questions or doubts between the two of them.   Especially since SIL is asking/pressuring them to pony up their embryos. 
    100% agreed w/bolded. 
    mrsconn23Vivandiere8
  • I totally agree that if the LW is very uncomfortable with the idea, that's the bottom line.

    However, at the same time, I think it is really sad she feels the way she does and I don't understand it.  I'm not a mother, I don't want kids, maybe that is why I don't understand.  But it seems like something she should WANT to do to help her SIL/BIL.  Obviously she and her H had fertility issues also.  She, of all people, should understand where they are coming from.  Would she really even feel that "mother bond" with children she won't be mothering or carrying?  Who only share her and her H's genetic material?  Perhaps so, but I still don't get it.

    With all that said, sometimes you can't help your feelings.  And that's where the LW is.  It sounds like she finds the thought very upsetting.  So, unfortunately, that is the answer.  

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    DrillSergeantCatmrsconn23OliveOilsMomcowgirl8238
  • short+sassyshort+sassy member
    Seventh Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited October 2016
    *Barbie* said:

    I totally agree that if the LW is very uncomfortable with the idea, that's the bottom line.

    However, at the same time, I think it is really sad she feels the way she does and I don't understand it.  I'm not a mother, I don't want kids, maybe that is why I don't understand.  But it seems like something she should WANT to do to help her SIL/BIL.  Obviously she and her H had fertility issues also.  She, of all people, should understand where they are coming from.  Would she really even feel that "mother bond" with children she won't be mothering or carrying?  Who only share her and her H's genetic material?  Perhaps so, but I still don't get it.

    With all that said, sometimes you can't help your feelings.  And that's where the LW is.  It sounds like she finds the thought very upsetting.  So, unfortunately, that is the answer.  

    I would venture to guess that the reason LW is so uncomfortable is the same reason that SIL is dead set on having "biologically related" children. 

    Given what you said, the same argument could be made for asking why it is so important for SIL to share a biological relationship with the child(ren). Couldn't she love and mother a child just as well if the child wasn't biologically related to her? (Adopt a child or use a donor egg with her husband's sperm and hire a surrogate.)

    I feel like mixing family into the situation, especially when one of the donors is not 100% on board would end up really messy. 



    I totally agree with that in exactly the same way.  I also don't understand the "oh, but it's similar genetic material" so we want it.  But I guess I also saw where the SIL/BIL might figure it was convenient to use the embryos.  Plus they worked for the LW and her H, so perhaps there is a good assumption the other ones will be viable.

    And, to be fair, from what I picked up in the letter, the LW has never told her SIL/BIL about her discomfort.  Maybe they've just been assuming it's okay and would be perfectly fine to go in another direction if they knew the LW has so unhappy with the thought. (Edited because I just used the word "fine", three times in one sentence, lol.)

    Again, this might be because I'm not a mother nor do I want to be, but I see babies as babies.  Especially a couple yearning for a baby, they are going to love a baby, whether it is biologically related to them or not.  So, I don't understand it making much difference.

    I mean, even my non-kid self sees a baby and I just want to snuggle it and love it, lol.

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  • I totally agree with that in exactly the same way.  I also don't understand the "oh, but it's similar genetic material" so we want it.  But I guess I also saw where the SIL/BIL might figure it was convenient to use the embryos.  Plus they worked for the LW and her H, so perhaps there is a good assumption the other ones will be viable.

    And, to be fair, from what I picked up in the letter, the LW has never told her SIL/BIL about her discomfort.  Maybe they've just been assuming it's okay and would be perfectly fine to go in another direction if they knew the LW has so unhappy with the thought. (Edited because I just used the word "fine", three times in one sentence, lol.)

    Again, this might be because I'm not a mother nor do I want to be, but I see babies as babies.  Especially a couple yearning for a baby, they are going to love a baby, whether it is biologically related to them or not.  So, I don't understand it making much difference.

    I mean, even my non-kid self sees a baby and I just want to snuggle it and love it, lol.

    This isn't exactly a situation where you're all "Hey, I see you didn't eat your second dinner roll, do you mind if i have it?"

    I think it would be a completely different situation if LW and her H had decided (on their own accord) that they wouldn't use the other embryos and offered them to SIL and BIL - but I can't imagine actually approaching a friend or family member to ask if I could have a "spare" embryo. 
    mrsconn23cowgirl8238
  • I think it would be one thing if it were frozen eggs or something but the fact that it is a fertilized embryo would mean these are 100% the same genetic material as LW's own children so I do understand how it could be strange or definitely a big thing to consider. I'd be much more likely to donate my eggs than I would the embryo to a family member
    *Barbie*mrsconn23cowgirl8238
  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    kvruns said:
    I think it would be one thing if it were frozen eggs or something but the fact that it is a fertilized embryo would mean these are 100% the same genetic material as LW's own children so I do understand how it could be strange or definitely a big thing to consider. I'd be much more likely to donate my eggs than I would the embryo to a family member
    What if it weren't a family member, but the time was coming up for your embryos to be destroyed or donated. Would it be different if the donee was in another state or, at minimum, unknown to you?
  • kvruns said:
    I think it would be one thing if it were frozen eggs or something but the fact that it is a fertilized embryo would mean these are 100% the same genetic material as LW's own children so I do understand how it could be strange or definitely a big thing to consider. I'd be much more likely to donate my eggs than I would the embryo to a family member
    What if it weren't a family member, but the time was coming up for your embryos to be destroyed or donated. Would it be different if the donee was in another state or, at minimum, unknown to you?
    I think I would be more likely to donate to a stranger in another state although it would still be weird because I think I would always wonder if the baby was born, how he/she was doing, etc. But I just think if it was someone I knew (family or friend nearby) it might be strange to see the kid at family gatherings or a birthday party and think it was my child even though you have the whole nature v nurture aspect to consider.

    I know someone who used donated embryos for their IVF and I am very happy that they were given that option (it wasn't successful this last round though). 
    DrillSergeantCatcharlotte989875
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