Human Interest

After 17 years as a frozen embryo, baby Marley is finally born

Nearly two decades ago, a couple decided to use a donor egg and IVF to grow their family, and while they were able to have a child, they still had embryos “leftover.” While their sibling, who is now 18 years old, went on to be born and live life, these children were frozen and eventually donated to Snowflake Embryo Adoption (a program of Nightlight Christian Adoptions).

That’s when one baby finally got her second chance at her life.

According to Baby Center, Elizabeth and Marty were struggling to become pregnant with their second child when their doctor suggested the Snowflake Embryo Adoption program to them. The program connects frozen, “unwanted” embryos with couples who face infertility issues and desperately want a child. The couple seized the opportunity.

“I remember the day of the transfer was very exciting, but I remember also being very nervous, so nervous I was actually shaking,” Elizabeth told Baby Center. “There was so much running through my head the day of the transfer – the hopes of finally getting a positive pregnancy test, the idea of disappointment if the embryo didn’t implant in my uterus, the excitement that our long awaited for baby could actually be in our arms in 9 months. So many thoughts were running through my head. I also remember giving it all to God, which I had done months and months earlier in this process, but I had another round of it leading up to the transfer. I knew I had done absolutely everything I could to prepare for successful transfer and pregnancy. Realizing that anything can happen, I, at least, prepped myself for the best possible chance of achieving our dreams.”

The pregnancy was much like the one with their first child, with all the usual pregnancy symptoms — minus the morning sickness. However, with the adopted embryo, the umbilical cord only had one vein and one artery, instead of one vein and two arteries. Elizabeth had to be monitored closely, she told Baby Center, but thankfully, no further complications occurred.

Baby Marley was born at a healthy eight pounds, 13 ounces. She had to come via c-section because she was sideways just before birth. The delivery went well, and the family of four is now enjoying life together.

While Elizabeth and Marty have yet to meet the family who gave them Marley, they have exchanged emails and cards and have agreed to let the children from both families (who are biological siblings) meet someday. Elizabeth and Marty still have three embryos remaining, whom they have not yet decided what to do with, unfortunately.

When it comes to “leftover” embryos created for the purpose of IVF, Marley is one of the lucky ones. Her yet-to-be-born siblings may never get the chance they deserve, much like millions of other frozen embryos. In 2012, it was reported that 1.7 million human beings had already been destroyed during or after the IVF process was complete for their parents. That’s nearly half of all of the lives created in labs, according to the Telegraph.

There are more than 600,000 embryos currently frozen in the United States alone. These overwhelming numbers are what lead Christian groups, like the one that formed Snowflake Embryo Adoption, to do something to help keep these lives from being discarded. Because every life is unique from the moment of his or her creation, the purposeful creation of life only to destroy it — simply because the human being is considered “extra” — is a tragedy of huge proportions.

It’s beautiful to see Marley finally living her life after being on pause for 18 long years. With so many couples struggling to conceive and others anxiously trying to adopt newborns, it’s heartbreaking to know that millions of embryos and fetuses — tiny boys and girls — have been and are being destroyed and aborted at this moment.

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