Embryo Adoption: One Couple’s Experience

I’ve been married to my wonderful husband, Joshua, for 11 years now! For 10 years we were childless yet content with one another while serving the Lord around Australia and overseas. We never felt the need to investigate our barrenness. Our ministry was so special to us that we were content if God never chose to bless us with children, as we were ministering to others in ways we probably could not have, if we had children. Besides, my husband to me was “better than 10 sons” (1 Sam. 1:8); but most importantly God is more than enough to us! 

Only recently, my husband and I decided to undertake a medical investigation regarding the cause of our barrenness and to see how the Lord would lead us, considering I was nearing 37 years of age. The results confirmed the “impossibility” of natural conception. Although IVF was an option for us, after much prayer and thought, we had no peace to proceed for a number of reasons. One of those was the belief that we wanted to leave our future children in God’s hands, so we desired to bless abandoned children via the means of local adoption. 

We joined Anglicare to begin our journey. After the third (and final week) of our required training, we learned that the nature and application of “open adoption” would not be suitable for us, as it would contradict our principles for raising children. However, adopting an embryo was on the horizon. My brother-in-law and his wife had recently adopted an embryo and had given birth to their beautiful boy Ezra.  We were deeply touched by their testimony which had given us a new perspective on adoption. 

My husband and I explored this idea and decided to go down the donor embryo path through IVF Australia whereby our profile goes into a “pool” and the donor parents choose the desired recipients. I was told that the usual wait time for an embryo is one-and-a-half to two years, or maybe never, as it is based on the choice of the donor parents. Despite the odds against me, I prayed and asked the Lord to confirm this path for us by granting a swift process: “Lord if this is your will for us, please do a miracle and grant us something within the next 6 months”. One month later, I was notified of a Christian family who wanted to offer their four embryos to us. The donor parents were praying for a profile like ours and were very eager to notify us. We were overwhelmed with joy at how God answered our prayer! The IVF specialist admitted that she had never heard of anything happen so quickly before. But my God is able! 

And so now (January 2023), I am currently pregnant and into my second trimester by God’s grace! The procedure was very smooth and easy without much complication at all. We had a couple of compulsory consultations with a gynaecologist and a counsellor before preparing to transfer one embryo. The preparation only required a few tests including blood tests to track my ovulation so that the gynaecologist could time the transfer for a successful outcome. The procedure itself took only 10 minutes. I was fully conscious and saw the embryo placed into my uterus with a very thin catheter on a screen. It was painless and quick! Another advantage of embryo adoption is that there are no legal obligations from the Australian government, IVF Australia, or the donor parents to maintain an open relationship. The only legal requirement is that the child has a right to meet the biological donors and his siblings after he reaches 18 years of age. My husband and I have the liberty to raise the child as we believe, without any interferences. 

We are very grateful that we can give this child a chance to live as he or she deserves to be in a womb, not a freezer! Sadly, many embryos are “stuck” and abandoned cold storage. Most are thrown out or used for research. Not only do I benefit from experiencing the beauty of pregnancy, but we have an opportunity to give this image-bearer of God the right to live as one who has been spared from death. We know this is certainly God’s grace in providing us with this child in hope that he/she can experience the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that this child will grow “wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).

– Natalie Koura