From the outside, embryos leftover from IVF might resemble a simple bundle of cells. But, for a couple who’s just gone through the torment that is trying to fall pregnant when it doesn’t come naturally, these embryos likely represent something more.
The frozen embryos – also referred to as ‘snowflakes’ – are the product of IVF. They are not just eggs or sperm. Genetically, both the paternal and maternal sides are accounted for and the embryos share the same DNA as any children conceived by the couple who’s completed IVF.
So what should be done with these embryos? Should they be destroyed? Or donated?
One woman, Natalie Parker, made the decision to donate her embryos wearing “rose-coloured glasses”.
The mother told Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes how she’d read a case study about a couple who donated their embryos and stayed in contact with the recipient family. Their children, genetically brothers and sisters, became friends and the parents shared a bond unlike many others.
“We kind of walked in with rose-coloured glasses saying, ‘Ah this will all be great,'” she told Nine reporter Allison Langdon. “Because we had heard the good stories and how great it could be.”
Listen: Megan Malkiewicz shares her embryo donation story on our pregnancy podcast, Hello Bump. Post continues after audio.
But there were no playdates or friendships or long discussions between parents about the ways of the world and how they came to be connected.
Instead, the recipients of Parker’s embryos told the IVF clinic they’d miscarried and they disappeared. However, when Parker followed up and found the mother on social media, she saw the couple had a baby boy of remarkably similar appearance to her son.