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Infertility, embryos, divorce and the fallout...

BellaMia's picture

(I posted this in "Blended Family Issues" forum as well)

I've been MIA for a while, dealing with lots of life stuff. I hope all is well.

I've been wondering about sharing this for months now, and I feel like it's something I can finally do.

I have dealt with infertility for the past 14 years. After two ectopics, my ex-husband (who had no issue with his fertility) and I tried IVF twice without success, although the embryos were great, according to the doctors. That marriage ultimately eroded and we went our separate ways. However when we created the embryos, we signed an agreement that if I died the embryos would go to him, if he died the embryos would go to me, and if we divorced, the embryos would go to me. Hence, I have three embryos.

Fast forward and I am remarried (as those of you who are familiar with my ranting and raving know!) and my husband has two children by two other women, one who was a summer-break fling and another who was his first wife.

When he and I first started dating, I told him everything about my embryos because I had no intention of ever destroying or donating them. He said he didn't fully understand why I would want to have them, but I have never felt like I could expect him to feel the exact same way about them that I do. The more important issue for me was that he knew of my intention to transfer them at some point in the future when I was ready because 1. That process is the only way for me to have children, and 2. While I am pro-choice in terms of voting because I don't feel I can decide the path another person takes, I am very much pro-life for myself.

He now goes back and forth between saying that he's OK with me transferring my embryos if my ex is not involved and saying that he wants to try to create new embryos with me first, only trying my existing embryos if those don't work. But at the same time he says that if we were to have 1-2 more children (added to the two he already has) he would not want more. (My ex is fine with me transferring them and has no strong desire one way or the other.)

I guess the issue for me is that my husband feels it's OK for me to co-parent his biological children that he had from previous relationships. Why isn't it OK for me to continue to want my embryos? He focuses on the fact that they wouldn't be "our flesh and blood," but I feel like they are my babies, or as close as I have ever come at this point... I understand that he has reservations about it, but that is why I brought it up the first month that we were dating (nearly three years ago), because I wanted to give him plenty of time to decide if he wanted to get involved. Thoughts? *taking deep breaths*

I should add that I know there is nothing saying that these embryos would ever implant or result in live births. After all this time, I am actually totally OK with a (+) or a (-) result. However I feel like I owe them a chance at life since I chose to help create them.


meneran's picture

Im wondering why are you making things so complicated?

Why dont you try to have a baby with your current husband? Why do those embryos from your ex husband take precedence?

Maybe I misunderstood something?

BellaMia's picture

Life can be complicated. This site wouldn't exist were that not the case. If I transferred my existing embryos and they resulted in a live birth, I would be having a baby with my current husband. I'm expected to and do love and care for my husbands two children from previous relationships as if they are my children, or as close to that as possible. Why is it too much to expect that from him as well?

My existing embryos don't take "precedence" over anything, anymore than his children take "precedence." The situation simply is what it is.

If it were a situation of my eggs and my ex-husband's sperm were at the clinic, but not combined and life had not already been created, there would be no issue. I wouldn't consider combining them and making embryos. But it has already happened and I absolutely know I would forever regret not giving them a chance at life.

stormabruin's picture

I understand where your struggle is. I am also pro-life & see your issue with regret.

I wish I had an experience to relate or some advice to offer, but I don't. I do hope you're able to find peace in whatever choice you make. Smile

MamaBecky's picture

He knew upfront that you intended to transfer these embryos correct? Your not just springing this on him?

Do you truly believe if these embryos did result in live birth...once your children were live flesh and blood...that your ex would want NOTHING to do with them? What if you have a son that looks just like him? Are you prepared to make your DH live with that?

This is a hard spot and if I were you I would struggle with it to...but ultimately you created the embryo's, you have them, they are half you....and if you feel strongly that you werent through that process for a reason then do what you have to do. If they take and you have babies you cant predict how it will go. You cant predict how your DH will react to them, and you cant predict what will happen with your ex.

If you feel that if the worse happens and you end up a single mother some day down the road...and you are OK with that....then do what you have to do and ride the wave of the fall out. It is ultimately what I would do....but you are not me and you have to decide what you can handle and deal with.

Good luck!

stormabruin's picture

I agree with all of this aside from the comment: "What if you have a son that looks just like him? Are you prepared to make your DH live with that?"

She told her DH when they were dating what the deal was. She was upfront & he still chose to marry her. I don't think it's fair to say she'd be "making him live with that". In my opinion, that's a choice he made..a chance he knowingly took in choosing a life with her. Maybe it would be difficult for him to swallow, but it was still his choice to take that chance.

BellaMia's picture

He knew within the first month of us dating. Long before the intimacy, long before we expressed love for each other. I felt that was important, just as I would have wanted to know if someone I was dating had children.

If I had a child who looked just like my ex husband, so be it. There would certainly be a chance of that (and at least he would be cute. LOL!), but there is also just as much of a a chance that he would look just like me (meaning he would be even cuter!). Besides, we already deal with a situation where my husband's youngest son looks exactly like his mother, my husband's BITCH ex-wife. I never fault the child for that or take it out on him. And interestingly enough, my DH isn't even 100 percent sure that child is his biological child (the ex had a problem keeping her legs closed while she traveled for work), but he has told me that he wouldn't want to take a DNA test because it would be too hurtful if he isn't his. At least I have been open and honest with him from the beginning about my fertility issues and my embryos from the beginning.

As you said, I can't predict anything. Hell, if someone had told me in 2005 that I'd be married to a different man, be a stepmother to his two children, AND dealing with an embryo issue,... holy crap. I probably wouldn't even have been able to wrap my brain around that. But life throws curve balls. What else can I do but keep living my authentic life? I could have biological children with my husband and STILL end up being a single mother. Who really knows? But either way, if I am blessed to become old and gray, I don't want to look back and say, "What if...? I should have tried...?" They're my babies. If they don't take, it wasn't meant to be and I will absolutely be at peace with that! Smile But if I never tried, I know in my heart I would regret it and probably resent my husband too. Again, I told him about this from

Jsmom's picture

I understand how you feel. I lost a child at 9 months and grieve still 12 years later. To you those are your children already and not giving them life, you would feel you failed them. Explain it like that to him and maybe he can understand. Me, I would have them implanted and hope for the best. If they don't take, then you can do it with your new husband.

THose are children to you and they were here first and should at least be given the opportunity to thrive. If he doesn't understand that then this may not be the situation for him. You did give him plenty of warning about your feelings on this. Good luck and let us know the outcome.

BellaMia's picture

Thank you! That is EXACTLY how I feel... I get so emotional and sort of frustrated when I talk to my DH about it because I can't seem to get him to completely understand that. I have tried explaining to him that HE was once "just" an embryo... I was once "just" an embryo... the two little boys who are the joy of his life were both "just" embryos. I'm not sure how one can consider that and not at least partially understand my desire to give my embryos a chance at life.

Thank you... thank you... thank you...

marissamae88's picture

"What if you have a son that looks just like him? Are you prepared to make your DH live with that?"

There were some comments that followed this statement with he chose to marry her and that is something he just has to deal with. Well I hear that alot with my situation. I knew he had kids I chose this and I did this to myself. I think alot of women would agree thats not entirely true. You dont how bad it is until you get to that point. I understand you feel they are your babies and your just waiting for the right time to have them physically but its kind of like him wanting to have a baby with someone else. You have to think about it from his angle just like he should think about it from yours. He probably didnt think it would bother him but now he sees that it would. Being married is about compromise. I dont have an opinion one way or the other about what your final decision is but you have to make sure you comfortable giving your husband a child that technically isnt his. If he isnt comfortable with it then the child may suffer. Again all your choice but just remember to think about the way he will feel and the way your baby will feel.

BellaMia's picture

You're right. I know that I have felt that it was impossible to predict how hsrd life would be and all of the challenges of step-motherhood. But in spite of it all, I love my husband and I do my best to make it work. That's all I expect in return. At least this way he will be able to love and know my children from the very beginning and they wouldn't know life without him being a father in every way that matters.

stormabruin's picture

No one can predict how things will come out. The best we can do is communicate & make our choices. Communication was made as well as choices. He was aware of the situation & the possibility & with that information chose to continue a relationship & get married. I don't think it's fair to state that Bella carrying out what she's already discussed with him would be "making her DH live with that". He chose it as a possibility.

I don't think that she should have to throw something that is clearly so important to her out the window because now that it's coming to light as something real rather than just a possibility he's decided he can't handle it.

How is it fair for him to expect her to accept his children in her life but he shouldn't be expected to accept hers?

We do make choices & it's a guarantee in life that we'll all make at least one choice where the outcome isn't what we expect, but we deal with it. I couldn't stand myself if I ever put my DH in the position of having to choose between me or his kids. She didn't do that to him, so why would her DH feel justified in putting her in the position of making such a painful choice & having to feel that kind of regret? Things like that lead to resentment that carries on for years.

BellaMia's picture

"I don't think that she should have to throw something that is clearly so important to her out the window because now that it's coming to light as something real rather than just a possibility he's decided he can't handle it.

How is it fair for him to expect her to accept his children in her life but he shouldn't be expected to accept hers?"

That's exactly what it feels like. Perhaps he thought he could make me change my mind over time, but I have never wavered on my plan with them. He knows that. Now it as if he feels betrayed when in actuality, I feel like he is the one who is going back on his word. He says that while he doesn't like the idea, he would support me IF my ex had no involvement whatsoever with the child(ren) and if he signed his rights away. Well, I'm perfectly fine with that. And in our state, the law says the embryos belong to me and my ex has no parental rights or responsibilities to them anyway. He would actually have to petition to be their father and he's likely too lazy and apathetic to do so. Either way, I feel my life with DH goes on, and I don't think it's fair for him to say my ex has to be OK with not being in the picture. I deal with two CRAZY BM's on a constant basis. But, once again, it is what it is. IF (and that's a huge "if") a child were to be born from my embryos and IF (another gigantic "if") my ex were involved, DH would still have less bs to deal with than I do each and every day.

It's just hard because there is no middle ground. Either I get my way and we try or he gets his way and I donate my embryos to science (not a snowball's chance in hell) or another couple (no way). What the heck is the point in being upfront and honest about things like this if it still creates contention in the marriage? Sigh... On the one hand I feel terrible because I love DH and I don't want to hurt him, but on the other hand he knew my plans from the beginning. He feels like I put the embryos before him and I can't get him to see that they aren't before him, it's just different than him. I would think he would understand that since he's already a father...