What if we are Catholic…can we still pursue embryo adoption?

“We are solving a problem that already exists.”

This is the simple answer we give for why embryo adoption is permissible, even if one has reservations about in vitro fertilization.  In fact, since embryos are human beings, then not only is embryo adoption permissible: it is actually obligatory!

The Catholic Church takes a firm stance on in vitro fertilization (IVF): it’s a non-starter for infertile Catholic couples. The church issued a document in 1987 called the Donum Vitae (DV), or “The Gift of Life,” which clearly outlined its stance on alternative family building methods. The document stated that if technology aided a couple in achieving pregnancy, it was okay. If it replaced the marital act that led to pregnancy, though, it wasn’t – so that ruled out IVF as an option for Catholic couples facing an infertility diagnosis.

But where does that leave embryo adoption?

While the reason these embryos exist in the first place has been condemned by the Catholic Church, it also takes the stance that all children are worthy of love and respect no matter how they were conceived. Father Thomas Williams addressed this controversial issue in an interview with Catholic.org. In the interview, he states that the question should not be how these children came into existence, but what we can do now to help them.

“Given the current state of medical science,” Father Williams says, “the only thing that can be done to save the lives of those persons is gestation in a woman’s womb. Most women aren’t called to make this sacrifice, but those who feel called should not be discouraged from doing so.”  You can read the full interview with Father Williams for more information on the moral and theological implications of embryo adoption.

Noted Catholic ethicist, Dr. Elizabeth Rex, has written extensively on the permissibility of Snowflakes®, noting that embryo adoption does not violate the sacred bond of marriage, and fulfills our obligation to save human lives. She says of Donum Vitae, “the human embryo must be treated as a person from the first instant of its conception (DV I.1) and it also declares as ‘licit’ and even ‘desirable’ all therapeutic procedures that ‘are directed toward [the human embryo’s] healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.’ (DV I.3).”  If Donum Vitae sees as desirable all procedures which are directed toward an embryo’s survival, then surely embryo adoption is permissible.

We have recorded a video about the Catholic View of Embryo Adoption presented by two Catholic doctors.

–Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D.

Season of Giving

Christmas is a time of excitement. Stores are bustling, shoppers are busy, and there is a sense of anticipation in the air as we prepare for the holidays with friends, family, food, and gift-giving. In the back of your mind, you think again about your frozen embryos sitting in storage…

Is this the season to give the ultimate gift of a family to those who cannot have a family themselves?

 Perhaps you are unable to use all of the embryos you have created using IVF, and now the thought of discarding them or donating them to science does not seem like the right choice anymore. But there are other choices—gifting them to another family! Embryo donation through the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program allows families who are complete to give their remaining embryos to another family so they may complete their own family like you! You created the embryos in the first place to hopefully become a living, breathing baby. You can still choose life for your embryos!

Christmas is a reminder that family and kindness are of utmost importance. Seeing loved one’s faces light up from an exciting gift is often more gratifying than receiving a gift yourself. Embryo donation through Snowflakes empowers you to have a choice in the family who received your gift of embryos. Choose to give the greatest gift of life to not only a family but your embryos.

To learn more about the donation process, visit Snowflakes.org.

Gestational Carriers and Embryo Adoption

Surrogacy for pregnancy and gestational carriers seem to often be a trending topic online. We all know that social media can be a source of very helpful connections and information, but it is not always the best source of truth.

Here are some of the myths surrounding surrogacy/gestational carriers and embryo adoption that we have heard that we want to clear up!

  • MYTH: A “gestational carrier” is the same as a “surrogate”
    • If a woman is a “surrogate”, that means that she is biologically related to the baby she is carrying. A “gestational carrier” does not share any genetics with the baby she carries. In embryo adoption, if the adopting mother is not carrying the child herself, then they will utilize a “gestational carrier” because there is no genetic link between the embryo and the woman carrying the baby.
  • MYTH: You can save fees by using the DIY method to find a gestational carrier
    • When considering the gestational carrier option, the cost can be prohibitive unless you happen to know someone who is willing to be a surrogate on your behalf. Even then the costs can be high, and this is not an area where saving money should be the biggest priority.
  • MYTH: I need to adopt embryos before the gestational carrier agreement is drafted by an attorney.
    • It is important that the details of the gestational carrier agreement be settled before an embryo adoption match is made. Be sure to find a local family law attorney who is skilled in the field of assisted reproductive technology. The agreement between the embryo adopting family and the gestational carrier needs to include details such as:
      • Willingness to travel to the appropriate clinic for the frozen embryo transfer(s)
      • Details on how many transfers the gestational carrier is comfortable with
      • Confirmation that the carrier has been screened to carry a pregnancy
      • The fine points of how many embryos the gestational carrier is comfortable with transferring at any one time
  • MYTH: What my acquaintance in Texas knows about gestational carriers and how to navigate the process must apply to me in Florida.
    • Be really careful here. The laws surrounding surrogacy and gestational carrying are very specific and vary different from state to state.

If you are considering embryo adoption using a gestational carrier, be encouraged. Families have managed this in the past without issue…just be aware that there are still a few important things to consider and plan for.

You can learn more about Embryo Adoption on our website. See more details on gestational carriers on pages 30-31 of our Embryo Donation and Adoption FAQ Booklet.

Is 2021 Your Year to Donate?

 

The turn of a new year tends to bring about themes of renewal, fresh starts, decision making, and conquering goals. For those of you who have found yourself at the end of your IVF journey, you may have come face to face with the decision this past year of what is to be done with your remaining embryos. This decision may be one you never thought you’d have to face and wish you didn’t have to. It may seem daunting, or you may not feel emotionally prepared, but it is never too early to search out the answers you seek. Now is a good time to take the first step.

The Donation Option

Have you ever looked into embryo donation and adoption? Did you know there was such a thing as an adoption model for donating your embryos? The thought of your embryos belonging to someone else may be one that seems unbearable, but many who have faced these fears have found placement through an adoption program was right for them.

Reasons to Donate:

  • Embryo donation is a life-giving option for your embryos!
  • Through embryo donation with adoption agencies such as the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, you have the ability to choose who will adopt your embryos and the peace of mind that they have been deemed physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially prepared to raise a family by adoption agency professionals.
  • You created your embryos because you wanted a family. Now you can help someone else do the same.
  • Certain embryo adoption agencies (like Snowflakes) allow for communication with adoptive families and updates on children born from the embryos.
  • Many clinics will not accept embryos that have been frozen before a certain date. The sooner you donate your embryos, the more likely they are to be accepted by an adoptive family’s clinic.
  • Storage costs have become difficult to manage.

Take the First Step

It all starts with one simple step: asking questions. Often, it is the fear of the unknown that keeps us from moving forward.

Where to Start:

In this New Year, make your resolution one of gaining knowledge, educating yourself, and taking time to reflect on tough questions and emotions you may have been avoiding. The fear of the unknown can be crippling. The good news is that one small step can be all you need to allow yourself to take another, and then another, and then just one more until you find the answers and peace of mind you have been seeking.

To learn more about embryo donation, visit EmbyroAdoption.org.

 

Help Nightlight Christian Adoptions Win $20K!

Comcast Innovations for EntrepreneursHave you heard?! Nightlight has been chosen as one of 30 finalists in Comcast’s Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs contest! We need your help to be chosen as a one of six Grand Prize Winners that will win $20,000!

We entered the contest to gain funding that can help make the process of adopting easier for potential parents. Not only would we be able to help potential parents complete the adoption process online, we’d help them prepare for their adopted child by introducing an online education process. In order to meet these goals, we need to gain access to some existing software programs, which can often be expensive. And with that, we’d like to be able to customize the software to include some embryo adoption-specific enhancements.

At Nightlight, we’re all about helping more babies be born out of frozen storage with our Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. We also work to raise awareness about embryo adoption through the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center, which Nightlight runs. With more than 600,000 embryos in frozen storage in the U.S., our goal is to help them become the children they were meant to be, which we do by matching donor parents with adopting parents through an open adoption process.

So how can you help? Visit cbcommunity.comcast.com/i4e/vote, and vote daily through May 13, 2016. Only one vote per person, per day will count to help us out, so help us spread the word through social media!

Learn more about Comcast Business’ Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs contest online, and see our full essay on the voting page. Thank you for your vote!

Nightlight on the Dr. Phil Show

This past Friday, April 25th, Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ Executive Director Daniel Nehrbass was a guest on the Dr. Phil Show, delivering some much needed good news to a couple caught up in the middle of a domestic adoption scam.

To learn more about how Nightlight’s Domestic, International, Foster and Embryo Adoption Programs can help you build your family please visit Nightlight.org.

Nightlight Weekly Recap Jan. 2014

It was a busy, but exciting week for our crew here at the Nightlight Christian Adoptions one which certainly helped the good news of adoption in all forms. We wanted to take a moment to recap some of the events happening this week just to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

China Adoption in the Spotlightchina collage

Our very own Dana Woods, the China Program Director at A Helping Hand Adoption Agency (an affiliate agency of Nightlight), was a guest on the Creating a Family radio show. Discussion focused on what it takes to adopt from China including the process, cost and what to expect. If you are considering adding to your family through China adoption, this is an excellent resource to listen to.

Hear the complete interview on CreatingAFamily.org.

 

Embryo Adoption on Family Talk Radio

This past Wednesday, the Strege family, the very first Snowflake family, appeared on the Family Talk radio broadcast with Dr. James Dobson for a 25-minute interview. Don’t miss an amazing opportunity to hear how embryo adoption started, the Strege’s amazing story and how embryo adoption can help you achieve your dream of achieving pregnancy. To listen to the full broadcast visit the Family Talk website.

HawkinsfamilyFox News Focuses on Embryo Adoption

Continuing an awesome week of exposure and awareness, Fox News featured embryo adoption on their website, telling the story of the Hawkins family. Enjoy an excerpt of the moving story below.

“Stephanie Hawkins is one of the 6.7 million women in the U.S. who struggle with infertility. But when she and her husband Ben realized they wouldn’t be able to have biological children, the Rochester, NY couple decided it was time to try to start their family another way.”

To read the full story visit FoxNews.com.  One correction to the article: Fox refers to Snowflakes and Nightlight as a clinic, but this is not the case.  Nightlight is a licensed adoption agency, and employs the best practices of adoption to the process of embryo donation.  In this sense, we are an indispensable partner to clinics, as we provide the strong social work model that gives clients the confidence to donate and adopt.  In addition, the article notes Snowflakes® policy of non-discrimination, as a California-based social welfare agency.  For more about this policy click here.

To learn more about all of your adoption options including Domestic, International, Embryo, Foster Care and Home Studies, visit Nightlight.org.