A Virginia couple unwilling to destroy their frozen embryos that went unused following fertility treatments chose to adopt them out to a like-minded family suffering from similar woes.
Rebecca and Chris Henderson of Hampton were blessed with two sets of twins with the help of in vitro fertilization–they also had 11 unused frozen embryos carrying their DNA.
Since they believe life begins at conception, simply getting rid of the embryos was out of the question.
Cue Dan and Kelli Gassman across the country in Salem, Oregon–another Christian couple desperate to be parents.
The Gassmans had wanted an embryo and the Hendersons had too many. Soon after Rebecca Henderson became pregnant with a third child–this one an unassisted ‘miracle baby’– she and her husband signed away the 11 frozen embryos to the Gassmans.
‘We have been blessed with three when we didn’t think we’d have one, so, what kind of awesome thing is it to bless another couple and let them experience the same kind of joy we did?’ Becky Henderson told USA Today.
After the Hendersons had identical twins Abigail and Rachele, they paid a few hundred dollars per year to store the 11 leftover embryos.
Once they were blessed with an unexpected third child conceived naturally five years later, they decided three was enough.
There are two major embryo ‘adoption’ agencies, Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program out of California and the National Embryo Donation Center of Tennessee.
Both groups cater largely to people like the Gassmans and Henderson whose decision to ‘adopt’ an embryo is faith-based.
The Hendersons’ twins are now 8 and have met the eldest Gassman kid, Trevor. The two families exchange photos on Facebook and the kids even spend time together on Skype.
Meanwhile, having been blessed with the two children they always wanted, the Gassmans have actually returned the remaining embryos to the Hendersons.
The Hendersons, in turn, have identified yet another family with whom they can share the joys of parenthood.
The Gassmans’ two children have a relationship with the Henderson twins via Skype and Facebook and the couple even gave back the remaining embryos, which the Hendersons plan to ‘adopt’ out to another Christian couple