The Joy of Adoption. The Miracle of Life.

Heartwarming stories for the Holiday Season…

Best of Greeley Article
by Kimberly Tyson

Hannah Strege is like most American teenagers. She likes to hang out with her friends. She listens to music and watches funny YouTube videos. She’s planning where she will go to college and hopes to become a physician’s assistant. She likes to eat pizza and go to movies. Yes, Hannah is an American girl.
Hannah’s parents, Marlene and John Strege, are delighted to have their American girl!

Back in the 90’s, the Streges were wondering if they would ever have a girl or a boy as they faced the stresses of an infertility diagnosis. As they discussed treatment options with their physician. Since the advent of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), fertility clinics have been assisting patients achieve pregnancy through a treatment known as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Often, more embryos are created for the IVF treatment than are eventually used by the patient, thus creating a surplus of cryo-preserved embryos. Marlene asked her clinic if they had available embryos in frozen storage.

Marlene and John had already determined that they were not comfortable with creating more embryos through IVF, especially if it meant using donated human eggs. But this idea of using embryos that were waiting in frozen storage was intriguing. Marlene decided to seek out advice from life-long friend and experienced adoption attorney, Ron Stoddart and from several spiritual advisors, including Dr. James Dobson, to determine if using donated human embryos should be considered at all.

Simply being assigned anonymously donated embryos from a fertility clinic was not the procedure John and Marlene wanted to follow. They worked with Mr. Stoddart to develop the first embryo adoption program in the world, now known as the Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption Program. The Streges and Stoddart decided to name the program Snowflakes because like a delicate snowflake each embryo is frozen, unique and a gift from God. The program was officially established in 1997 as a division of Nightlight® Christian Adoptions.
Using the best practices of adoption, the Snowflakes program helps couples who have completed their family select another couple to donate their remaining embryos to in order to give those embryos a chance to be born. Hannah is Snowflake baby #1! She was born on January 31, 1998 and placed into the wondrous and grateful arms of her parents.

Fast forward to June 3, 2017. On this day, baby Marley was born to her parents Marty and Elizabeth, a healthy 8lb, 1.3oz, 20.5” girl. While Hannah (Snowflake baby #1) was born in 1998, Marley’s embryo was created in a petri dish and frozen in 1998. She was born nearly 18 years later after her parents adopted her and gave birth to her. Marley is Snowflake baby #470.

Experiencing pregnancy and childbirth is the primary motivation of most families who choose embryo adoption over other forms of adoption. It’s also an economical alternative, often costing much less than IVF or the domestic adoption of an infant. There are over 1,000,000 embryos in frozen storage in the U.S.; not all will be donated for reproduction, but Snowflakes provides potential donors with a life-giving choice for their remaining embryos.

The Snowflakes program is managed right here in Loveland, CO, serving clients throughout the country and the world. In 2017, Snowflakes will celebrate its 20th anniversary and the birth of the 500th Snowflake baby!

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Embryo Quality: Choosing Life

How important is embryo quality? There are a variety of methods used by medical professionals to grade frozen human embryos, projecting the likelihood of pregnancy success. However, many healthy children have been born from embryos given a poor quality rating by the medical community. Dr. Jeffrey Nelson of HRC Fertility helps us gain some understanding about this frequently misunderstood topic.

These videos were produced by Nightlight Christian Adoptions and supported by grant #1EAAPA151027 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department.

Webinar: Embryo Adoption: Dispelling the Myths

Webinar: Embryo Adoption: Dispelling the Myths

Couples who have been unsuccessful at IVF will also not have success if they try to adopt an embryo. True or False? Parents don’t need to tell their children that they came from a donor conception. Adoption agencies charge exorbitant fees for embryo adoption services, the same cost as IVF. What is the truth? Let’s uncover the facts about these questions and more – ranging from the cost of an embryo adoption to the quality of embryos required by clinics assisting embryo adoptions around the country.

Watch Webinar >

How Embryo Donation Impacts the Donor’s Life

Couples who have pursued in vitro fertilization treatments (IVF) know that sometimes one embryo is not enough. Doctors will often transfer multiple embryos to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. Any embryos that remain are frozen. If the couple has remaining embryos in frozen storage when their family building is complete they will then need to decide what to do with them.

Have you ever thought about donating your remaining embryos? You could give another couple an amazing gift: the opportunity to become parents, to bring life into the world, and to lovingly raise a child. Tom and Annabelle wanted to give their six remaining embryos an opportunity at life. Watch their story to hear about how they decided to place their embryos for adoption.

Embryo donation can be a very emotional experience, and feeling a wide variety of emotions is perfectly normal. While you’ll feel excited that you are offering another family the opportunity to become parents, you may be apprehensive about who will be receiving your embryos. You might be scared, elated, happy, nervous…or a mixture of all of those feelings at once. That’s why it is important to work with an agency who understands the feelings you are experiencing and allows you to be a part of the process of choosing a family for your embryos.

Work with a respected, experienced adoption agency – The Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. Our experts understand the unique emotions that come with embryo donation. Visit our website to learn more: www.Snowflakes.org.

New Webinars Focus on Genetics and Adoption – Including Donor Egg/Sperm/Embryo

Family CookingWhen a couple discovers they will not be able to have a child that is genetically related to one or both of them how do they begin to deal with that loss?  There will be no, “she has your eyes” or “he has grandpa’s nose.” A myriad of other emotions attached to loss and sorrow will come.

These genetic losses are experienced by both families pursuing traditional adoption and embryo adopting families.

In addition, when you adopt a child, either a child who has already been born or a child you give birth to through embryo adoption there are some clues you can learn about successful parenting based on the genetic make-up of your child.  Interested in hearing more?

Register today for the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center’s two newest webinars being held in October and a repeat performance in November!

Part 1: Grieving the Loss of a Genetic Child

Part 2: Understanding Genetics for Adoption Success

 

Embryo Adoption: A Blessing for Three Families

Couples who have experienced their own baby blues and have chosen to build their families through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) may be able to bring joy to another couple’s infertility woes. Through the gift of embryo donation and adoption, couples who have completed their family building and have embryos remaining can donate those embryos to another couple facing infertility in hopes of helping them build the family they have always dreamed of. Embryo adoption offers the exciting possibility of being able to carry their adopted children and offers those children the ability to know where they came from through open adoption.

Embryo adoption agencies will seek to keep the biologically related siblings born through this process in as few families as possible. Sometimes, however, as was the case with the families in this video story, a family becomes complete with one pregnancy and the birth of twins or triplets. Finding a second adoptive family in these situations allows yet another family to experience the joys of adopting children at the earliest stages of development.

There are over 600,000 embryos remaining in frozen storage. That number continues to climb as more families are turning to assisted reproductive technologies to build their families. While embryo adoption may not be for everyone, couples who have experienced the process wish more families would consider the option. “Rather than just getting a bill from the frozen storage service every year, we will know that there is an option for them and there is a way for these children to have a chance,” says Jay White, a genetic parent who is glad that his embryos had an opportunity to experience what they were created for – Life.

To learn more about Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, please visit the Snowflakes section of our our site.

Freezing Eggs – Delaying Motherhood

pregnant-womanThis past Mother’s Day NBC Nightly News ran a short story about women delaying motherhood in America. The statics are startling:

  • From 2000-2012 the percentage of women aged 40-44 having their first baby rose 35%.
  • From 970-2012 the percentage of women over 35 having their first baby rose 900%!

One solution women are turning to is freezing their own eggs to be used later to achieve pregnancy after they have met ‘Mr. Right’. However, egg freezing can be cost prohibitive for most with an average cost of $13,000 plus annual storage fees.

Many women in America are uninformed about the fact biologically their egg supply (ovarian reserve) viability begins to rapidly diminish after the age of 30. The inability to produce healthy, viable eggs often results in reduced pregnancy rates and higher numbers of miscarriages in women over the age of 35.

For women over 40, getting pregnant is only half the battle as miscarriage rates over 40 are 50% and rise quickly with each passing year.

Embryo adoption may be choice worth considering for those who have delayed marriage or pregnancy. There are over 600,000 embryos in frozen storage in the United States and each year more people choose to donate their remaining embryos from IVF to another family.

Learn more at Snowflakes.org.

Oldest Snowflake Meets Newest Snowflake

Hannah and Ruth LawsonIn July 2014 an extraordinary event took place. Hannah Strege and her family were vacationing and were able to meet Tim and Ruth Lawson. The unusual part of their meeting is Hannah is the very FIRST baby born as a result of embryo adoption and Ruth is carrying the NEXT almost-ready-to-be-born Snowflake baby! Baby Lawson will be Snowflake #380!

Both of these ladies are rejoicing in the new life that is preparing to come in to the world!

For families with remaining embryos, embryo adoption allows them to choose life for embryos that may otherwise remain frozen or be destroyed. Embryo adoption allows the family to choose the family who will adopt their remaining embryos and give birth to their adopted child.

Embryo adoption is an amazing, unique and wonderful option available to help families trying to decide what to do with their remaining embryos AND give those embryos the opportunity to live the lives they were created for!

Learn more about embryo adoption at Snowflakes.org.

Supporting the Children in Families First Act

CHIFFNightlight, the National Council for Adoption and children all around the world need your help.

The Children in Families First Act is a congressional effort to make change for children all over the world. It would improve the way intercountry adoption works – leaving less children languishing and moving more families towards thriving. It would also provide much needed attention to ensuring diplomatic and programmatic assistance is given so that children all over the world can thrive in the full spectrum of family care settings.

Congress will soon leave Washington for summer recess, leaving us with just enough time to make our voices known on Capitol Hill, move CHIFF out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and onto the floor for a vote.

Here’s exactly how you can help, starting right now through this Friday (June 23 – June 27):

1. Send these two attached documents (What is CHIFF and Action Plan) to your staff, supporters, families, clients, and friends and;
a. Ask them to take the steps listed in the Action Plan
b. Ask them to send What is CHIFF and Action Plan to their networks and friends
2. Execute the Action Plan yourself, giving special attention to your efforts on social media
3. Post your activities to the CHIFF Facebook page