Hi all! We're Brian & Jenna Bieber, and we are so excited to share that we are in the process of adopting embryos to expand our family!
If you're like most people, you're thinking, "What in the world?? I've heard of adoption... but adopting embryos?" You're not alone. We hadn't heard about this amazing possibility until last year. And so we are SO excited to share this with you.
Read on to find out more about how we got here, what embryo adoption is, and why we're asking for your help. We also would love for you to visit our website www.openhearthomewomb.com to follow our story in more detail!
If you would prefer to donate directly to us rather than through GoFundMe so that we receive your full gift (as there is a 2.9% transaction fee + $0.30 per donation out of our funds for the processing), please message me here or at [email redacted] and we'll be happy to provide other ways to donate!
How did we get here?
We got married in June 2013 right after we graduated college. Like most couples, we had a plan. We wanted to give ourselves some time to settle into married life and then start having babies after about five years. As you likely know, things rarely go according to our plans.
We walked through over a year of infertility, testing, and medications before finding out in September 2019 that Brian has a genetic mutation such that we are not able to conceive children naturally.
While we still believe that nothing is impossible for our God and that He may choose to miraculously bless us with genetic children someday, we began to prayerfully consider embryo adoption. We ultimately felt God leading us down that path, and here we are!
To hear the full story of our journey of infertility, please visit our website www.openhearthomewomb.com!
What is embryo adoption?
In short, embryo adoption is giving birth to your adopted child. (We’re sure that clears it all up for you, right?)
Couples walking through infertility are often presented with the option to pursue in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproduction technologies (ART) in order to conceive a genetic child. These processes may indeed result in children for the hopeful parents. However, as fertility doctors attempt to give their IVF patients the best chance at a successful pregnancy by creating as many embryos as possible, this act also leaves a surplus of frozen human embryos when those parents have decided their family is complete.
According to the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), “That surplus is estimated at 700,000 to over 1,000,000 in the United States.” Parents who have completed their families must decide what to do with their remaining embryos. They may pay yearly storage fees to store the embryos indefinitely. They may destroy them. Or, they may donate them to another infertile couple.
Embryo adoption offers those embryos the potential of life. And though we ourselves were presented with the option to pursue a very specific kind of IVF in an attempt to create our own genetic children, we felt strongly that that’s not God’s story for us.
We have an open heart for parenting/adoption, and open home, and—due to our infertility—an open womb to give these embryos a chance at life. And in this process, Jenna has the opportunity to carry and give birth to our children. We see God’s heart of beautiful redemption in both sides of this story—redeeming infertility and redeeming the life potential of these embryos frozen at their most vulnerable stage.
Ultimately, we believe that God is working in our lives for our good and for His glory, and we feel that embryo adoption is the path He has called us to walk and to share with others. We are so grateful that you are here; we look forward to sharing our story with you and we pray that His name may be magnified.
To learn more about embryo adoption, please check out the NEDC’s website (www.embryodonation.org) and visit our personal website where we will detail our journey with the NEDC (www.openhearthomewomb.com).
Why are we asking for help?
The costs associated with embryo adoption are significant and are not covered by our insurance. Although the NEDC is a non-profit organization and they work to keep costs minimal for their patients, adoptive parents like us still take on significant expenses, both for the adoption process and the medical process.
Below, we’ve provided a general breakdown of costs. If you decide to partner with us, please know that your generous gift will directly fund these costs and will help bring about this beautiful redemption story. Part of our obedience in walking this path is believing that what God initiates, He will sustain. We believe He will provide and make a way, and we are so, so grateful if you want to be a part of that.
We also believe part of our mission is to raise awareness about embryo adoption. As such, we ask you to prayerfully consider capping your donation at $100 and, instead, sharing our page and our story with 10 friends/family members. For example, if you felt led to give us $200, instead we'd ask that you consider gifting us only $100 and then share our page/story with 10 friends and family members. If they all donated just $10, you'd reach your $200 gift and the story of embryo adoption would be shared.
So you have a sense of where we’re at in this process:
· We submitted our application to the NEDC in October 2019.
· We paid up front for our home study in October 2019 and we worked on gathering all necessary home study documents and completing our extensive autobiographical applications through December 2019. We had our home study visit in December 2019. Our agency is currently drafting our home study report and we expect it to be finalized by the end of January 2020.
· We had our first visit to the NEDC in Knoxville, TN on January 10, 2020. Jenna was medically cleared, and the trial transfer was successful (a “mock” transfer to make sure the real frozen embryo transfer (FET) will work in the future).
Embryo Adoption cost breakdown:
· Application fee - $400
(We paid this in October 2019 when we submitted our initial application.)
· Home study - $1,400 + $800 per year updates
(We paid the $1,400 in October 2019 and we will be required to pay approximately $800 for yearly updates, which will be necessary if we return to the NEDC for siblings.)
· Program fee - $2,100
(We paid this at our first visit to the NEDC in Knoxville, TN in January 2020.)
· Medical procedures at initial visit - $660
(We paid this at our first visit to the NEDC in Knoxville, TN in January 2020.)
· Donor fees - $550 - $1,000 (Potentially multiple occurrences)
(Varies; we will be reimbursing the donors through the NEDC for shipping, storage, and STD rescreening costs)
· Sibling program fee - $1,500 (Potentially 1-2 times)
(If we have a successful pregnancy, we hope to return in the future to have siblings. It will cost $1,500 for the program fee each time.)
· Mediation/contract negotiation - $1,500 - $2,500 (Potentially multiple occurrences)
(As we have decided to pursue an open adoption, we will need to work with a social worker to mediate our open agreement with the donor parents. We will pay these costs.)
· Frozen embryo transfer fees - $3,245 - $3,845 (Likely multiple occurrences)
(The cost varies depending on what stage in which the embryos were frozen. The thawing process varies which is why the transfer cost varies. We will need to pay these fees each time we have a transfer attempt. The NEDC will allow us three attempts at pregnancy, as there is a 55% chance of success per transfer. Even if we have a successful pregnancy on the first attempt, we will need to pay these fees again in each transfer attempt for siblings.)
· Medications - $1,000 (Likely multiple occurrences)
(For each transfer cycle, Jenna will be required to take a significant amount of medications, including both pills and shots multiple times a day. We will need to pay for medication each time we have a transfer attempt.)
· Lab work and ultrasounds performed outside of the NEDC, required as a part of the medication protocol leading up to a transfer – Unknown (Likely multiple occurrences)
(Jenna is not able to work with the usual local fertility clinics for this as they do not do outside monitoring. She was recommended to a clinic in Cranberry, PA but we are unsure of the fee structure and how much is covered by insurance at this time.)
· Storage fees - $400 per year (Likely several years)
(If we have a successful pregnancy from our adopted embryos the first time, we can reserve our embryos for future transfers for siblings. We will pay $400 per year to store our reserved embryos at the NEDC.)
· Travel costs - $400-500 per visit (Multiple visits)
(We need to pay for a hotel, food, and gas for about three days each time we visit the NEDC in Knoxville, TN. All of our transfer attempts will be in TN.)
As with any ART, there is also the potential for multiples which could result in new hospital and medical costs, though we certainly pray that would not happen.
The last thing we would like to say is that it is still possible that we may go through all of this and not have children. If our first three transfer attempts with our adopted embryos are unsuccessful, we will not be allowed additional transfer attempts. We understand and respect this policy, as statistics indicate we should be pregnant by that point and therefore it would be unwise to continue to endanger the lives of the embryos through additional transfer attempts.
We want to be up front with you that although we truly don’t believe that will be our story, it is still a possible outcome. If that were to be the case, we would donate any remaining funds that were gifted to us to the NEDC, to other Christian foster/adoption organizations, and/or to other foster/adoption stories like ours. So please know that your gift will be used to bring about stories of redemption and restoration, regardless of the outcome of our particular story.
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Please follow us at www.openhearthomewomb.com as we will be sharing our story, as well as God’s truths and kindnesses through trials like infertility, predominantly through our website.
[TL;DR We are walking through infertility. We feel God has called us to pursue embryo adoption. It’s expensive and so we are asking for your help!]