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Embryos That Create Family Bonds, With an Assist from Facebook

For so many childless couples, in vitro fertilization has been an ineffable blessing, unlocking the dream of parenthood that had once seemed beyond reach. For others in our country, usually families untouched by infertility themselves, there remains a lingering discomfort with IVF. For them, assisted reproduction seems more like a weird science experiment, one fraught with insurmountable ethical obstacles, as if our society were accelerating down a slippery slope toward the pod people factories in “The Matrix.”

The truth, as millions of families who have used IVF already know, is far more benign. In fact, in many instances, instead of facilitating the dehumanized mechanization of reproduction, IVF actually leads to unexpected, lasting human bonds so special, they’d seem downright farfetched if each of them wasn’t true.

The New York Times’ Tamar Lewin does a beautiful job of putting a human face on this of this aspect of IVF with a thoughtful piece this morning about Angel and Jeff Watts, a Tennessee family who brought four wonderful children into the world using IVF.

After their fourth child was born, the Wattses decided that their family was complete. Then they faced the conundrum that so many families encounter: what to do with their leftover embryos. Dump them, donate them to science, offer them to another family? The Wattses chose the third option and, with the help of a compelling Facebook posting, connected with Rayn and Richard Galloway, a childless, twenty-something couple who lived a few miles away.

“My husband’s words were, ‘It’s amazing, you found a 45-year-old version of us,’” Rayn said after meeting the Wattses, adding that meeting the family’s four children was like “seeing just what our kids would look like.”

A bond between families, a dream of parenthood come to fruition: these are the true stories that we, in the surrogacy field, have seen so many times and which will, bit by bit, put any lingering taboo connected to IVF into our country’s done-and-gone past.


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