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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Infertility is more common that you think. One in five couples suffer from infertility in the United States.
Cade Trabun is a talkative little guy. The 5-year old was showing off his Thomas the Train engine set to CBS 11 cameras at the Dallas home he shares with his parents and three siblings. And you can’t tell, but only Shiloh and Coen are his blood siblings. His 4-year-old brother, Gage, does not share his DNA but, they do share a mother.
Cade, Shiloh and Coen came to the Trabun’s as a frozen embryos from a donor in Oregon, after Christy and Mike couldn’t have children.
For seven years, Cade was in a frozen chamber before doctors implanted him into his mother’s womb. Nine months later, he saw the light of day.
Christy remembers the day well. “He just came out and cried for a second and just looked around,” she recalls. “The nurses were like, ‘Oh! You’re an old soul!’ And, we were like you have no idea!”
It also helped Christy Trabun experience what she’d been waiting for all these years… to carry her own baby. “It allowed us to experience pregnancy and have all legal precedence in our favor.”
They adopted seven embryos and that resulted in three children. Gage is their only biological son. He was born to the Trabuns soon after Cade’s birth. And it was a surprise for his parents.
Dr. Kevin Doody, with the Center for Assisted Reproduction in Bedford, said that is typical. “Often times only two or three babies can result from a single stimulation,” he explained.
An hour drive from Dallas, in Keller, you’ll find the Eggleton family. That’s the other side of this story.
The Eggleton’s are donors, who have voluntarily given away 14 of their healthy embryos after an in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment. Their family is complete with three children.
Melissa Eggleton explained that they didn’t know what to do with the leftover embryos. “We couldn’t destroy them. They are our kids.” And donating the embryos to research wasn’t an option. “They may be frozen cells for some people, but for us that is a child,” she told CBS 11.
The couple found help in Nightlight Christian Adoptions, an organization that pairs embryo donors with embryo recipients. After a lengthy interview process, which considers interests, socioeconomic status and ethnicity, the Eggletons’ embryos were paired up with a family from California.
“It’s kinda like Match.com,” joked Mike Eggleton.
The Eggleton’s chose an open adoption, which allows them to keep in touch with the recipient’s family. The family in California has one daughter from the embryos and another child is on its way
IVF can not only be expensive but taxing as well. So, Dr. Doody says couples are willing to try embryo donation and adoption. “Sometimes it can be more successful than trying to use their own egg or sperm or both.”
There’s no cost to the embryo donor, but for the recipient, it can cost between $6,000 and $10,000, which include the transportation and implantation of the embryos, as well as other administrative charges.
Dr. Doody says Texas is at the forefront on laws dealing with embryo donation and adoption. “The birth mother is the legal mother and husbands is the legal father except in special arrangements in gestational carrier surrogacy.”
Embryo adoption may not be for everyone. Some parents may have concerns about carrying someone elses baby. But for Mike Trabun’s, it didn’t matter. “You know the moment he was born, (chokes) I looked at him and I said, this is my son!
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