Embryo Adoption

Photo foe EDTo Spain

From an outside perspective we were just a couple going off to Spain for a long weekend. Looking back now, I don’t think I really cared what anyone else thought. I was doing this now no mater what. I was in this kind of madness, obsessed by one thing and driven by the desire to get knocked up!

We got to Spain on the Sunday afternoon some friends of ours were also there, pure coincidence, a birthday trip.  Sitting in the sun with them the day before they all drank wine while I sipped water, we all laughed and joked about how our lives would be so different in a few weeks time.

The hotel we were staying at was recommended by the clinic, it was nice enough. The morning of our appointment we sat in the breakfast area and I looked around at some of the other people sipping coffee and reading the newspaper’s. Trying to guess who else had come to here to adopt and embryo, and then surge of panic ran through me. What do you tell a child born from embryo adoption? do you just not bother? seeing as none of the donors details would be made available. Maybe I should have thought about this before now! It didn’t even occur to me.

The clinic was better than I’d expected, it felt clean and well organised, lots of people coming and going. We checked in and sat in the waiting room. One of the ladies that we’d met at the fertility fair come out to greet us, it was reassuring to see a familiar face.

“How are you?” she said

Er… actually I am suddenly having a moral crisis! to tell or not to tell? what to tell? HELL!

So do you:

  1. Not tell the child and hope that no one blurts it out? Let’s face it, one big-mouthed family member is bound let it slip. (I’m guessing Norman, AKA Brian, my eldest brother who we fondly named after the character in Psycho, only he’s far more loveable than my brother.)
  2. Tell them that you adopted them as a frozen embryo, and then show them some random pictures of good-looking Spanish couples.
  3. Run now and never have to deal with this moral and ethical dilemma. 

“Yes fine?” What else could I say. 

“Good, ok so we’re preparing everything for you so if you can take a seat and drink some water as we need you to have a full bladder to do the procedure. Please do NOT empty your bladder, we will call you once everything is set up.”

I had downed so much orange juice at the hotel my tongue was starting to swell up (greedy cow!) I already had a full bladder and needed the loo so I was hoping that it wasn’t going to take too long as I wasn’t very good at holding on. Our appointment was for 12.00 it was 11.55, so not long now.

12.35, still waiting and I was getting really uncomfortable, it didn’t help that we were sitting really close to a toilet and there was a large clock on the wall, time was dragging and I could feel myself starting to sweat. I undid my trousers. How much longer were we going to have to wait. 1.00 what was going on? I was starting to lose my nerve, when finally we were called. We had to walk outside the building and down the road a few yards to a set of automatic doors. Inside we were led to a room where I was asked to get undressed and into a hospital gown. Lee had to wear scrubs we were looking at each other in surprise. They didn’t do this at the Lister. I was then led into a sterile room and got into the chair with my legs in the stirrups. The procedure began and I was so desperate to go to the toilet it was now becoming really painful. Just as they were about to insert the catheter the nurse spoke.

“The embryos we had selected for you did not defrost properly”

“Don’t you hate it when that happens!” said Lee

We all gave his a hard stare.

“What!” said Lee

“It’s ok we always have a back up and we are going to insert those now”

“Who donated these? a couple of mutant ninja turtles!”

The nurse looked at Lee with confusion, it had been lost in translation thank God! Although he had a point they could have told us this information before I was lying with my legs in stirrups, we didn’t really have much choice at this point.

It reminded me of the time my friend went to a slimming clinic. After they’d extorted bundles of cash they handed over a minuscule packet of pills that promised to remove the fat from the food when she ate it.

As she was leaving the surgery the doctor said “Oh, a warning!”


“Do not eat any fat whilst taking these pills!” “What happens if you do that?” she said

“You will not get the desired results.”

She crapped herself in the changing room of British home stores. I’m pretty sure that was not her desired result. Don’t eat fat won’t get fat you TWIT!


Back to me…

After much gouging and poking they managed to get them in. Two little embryos, they showed us them on the screen. They did look a bit like turtles.

“There we are, we have placed them nice and high, so you just relax for a while and when you’re ready you can get dressed and go back to your hotel. These embryos matched the criteria, there were just a few differences”

I was a little bit concerned when she said this.

“What differences?” I said

“The female donor was younger than the last one and the male donor was taller and the eye colour was green not blue.”

“Green, are you ok with that?” said Lee

I couldn’t give a shit at this point, all I heard was that they had eyes, so great that fine! eyes are good!

I got dressed and we said goodbye, got in a cab and went back to the hotel.

Lee went out to buy us some food and I lay on the bed and tried to get my head around what had just happened. Now we just had to wait for two weeks to see if this had all been worth it.

I took it easy for the next two weeks Lee was away working for part of the time so I amused myself with the popular TV series the Wire, getting completely obsessed with “Stringer Bell” they told me after 14 days to take a blood test this would determine the result, they don’t recommend a pregnancy test with this type of procedure as it can give you an incorrect outcome.

Waiting for the result to come through was agonising, as so much was ridding on it to work.

Doctor calling

“Hello Miss O’Reilly, yes I can confirm that the result from the blood test is positive.”

“What? Does that mean I’m pregnant?”

“Yes, it means you’re pregnant………….are you still there?”

“Yes, sorry I just can’t believe it”

“Congratulations, make an appointment to come in and we can get your delivery date confirmed and look at your birthing plan”

“Thank you”

I sat on the sofa with the phone pressed against my ear for a few minutes before I was able to think about what to do next. I called Lee.

“It’s positive, I’m pregnant.”

There was silence and I heard him sigh.

“Did you hear what I said?”


“Wow, you don’t sound very happy?”

“I don’t know, I’m just trying to take it in.”

The phone went dead. It was a bit of an anticlimax, was he hoping it wasn’t going to work? was he just going along with me not really thinking that this was going to be a reality.  I called one of my really good friends and she drove over to see me, she was more emotional than I was.

The next few weeks were a bit surreal, I wanted to go out and buy things but I stopped by self. I couldn’t tell too many people until I got passed the 12 weeks. I was doing things slowly and not pushing myself too much. Lee came home and we just took things one day at a time. I had a few days work and then we had the May bank holiday weekend. Sunday I started to spot, I looked it up on the Internet and some of the fertility websites talked about implantation bleeding so I was reassured at first but then the pain kick in, a bit like menstrual cramps, then bleeding got much worse. Monday morning it was clear that something was not right, so Lee took me straight to the hospital; we didn’t have to wait long. The Doctor gave me an internal and removed the rest of what ever was left of my pregnancy, I had suffered a miscarriage. I felt a bit sore and yes I was disappointed but I thought you know what, we could do it again. I went home, had a bath and glass of wine for the first time in ages.

They did a blood test whilst I was at the hospital and it indicated that my HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels were really high, having suffered a miscarriage it would now decline. I was called by the Doctor and Instructed to go to my GP and have another blood test, I did this, this was now the middle of the week.

I was called on Friday night by the on call Doctor at the hospital.

“Hello is that Miss O’Reilly?”


“Dr Stratos here, on call gynaecologist Kingston hospital, how are you feeling?”


“Now, your HCG levels are still rising, so we need to just keep an eye on you for the next 24 hrs, the last blood test is still at the lab, that should be back by the morning, I need you to stay home this evening and if you do feel unwell come straight in to the hospital.”

“I don’t understand what this means.”

“You had a miscarriage last week, so you HCG levels should be going down, but they’re not. How many embryos did you have implanted?”

“Two, does this mean I could still be pregnant?”

“It’s difficult to say at this stage until we do some further investigation, so can you please stay at home and we’ll know more once the test result come back.”

“Ok, thank you.”

I put the phone down, I couldn’t help fantasising that one of the little embryo’s had clung in there, and was determined to take root. I went to bed feeling really hopeful.

The next morning I got up and as I hadn’t heard from the hospital  I got dressed and was just about to get in the car when the phone rang it was 7.30.

“Hello Dr Stratos here, can you bring your husband and come to the hospital right away.”

“But I feel fine.”

“ Your HCG scores are still rising and we need to find out why, please come in immediately, it’s really important that you do.”

I woke Lee up, and we walked to the hospital it was a beautiful sunny day. When we arrived they made us sit out side the ward until the on call gynaecologist came to see us.

“Hello, I’m Helen McCarty consultant gynaecologist can you follow me I want to do an internal scan to see if we can ascertain exactly what’s going on”

We followed her up to the floor above she unlocked the room with the large dildo machine resided. It was Saturday so it was cold in the room and there was a silence you don’t normally hear in hospitals. It took her a few minutes to warm up the machine and get in position.

“Ok, so if you can remove your lower garments and slide your bottom down as far a possible”

It funny after the miscarriage I had my hair done and painted my hands and toes, I guess I was just trying to cheer my self up. As I lay there I looked at my toenails, that’s when I realised that I’d forget to paint the big toe on my right foot, LOON!

“Ok, so just relax.”

She was much better at this that the last one. After about 2 minutes of fiddling and poking she turned to us and said.

“It’s as I thought I’m afraid, you have an ectopic pregnancy, I’m so sorry but we are going to have to take you down to surgery asap?”

I looked at Lee in disbelief, this had not even occurred to me, I had no clue that something like this could happen. I was slightly confused. How could I have an ectopic pregnancy, it wasn’t my egg that came down the tube, this made no sense to me, I expressed this to the doctor.

“Your tube has sucked the embryo up, we see quite a high rate of this with IVF.”

Not one person throughout this whole process ever mentioned the possibility of this happening.

“Have you eaten anything this morning? Said the Doctor

“She had an egg, ha ha, sorry I can’t believe I said that.”

The Doctor and I looked at Lee with contempt, she just ignored him.

“Right well let’s get back down to the ward and get you gowned up. I’m going to perform a procedure called a hysteroscopy it…”

“I know what it is. I have already had one of these, it was done in 2012, to remove a cyst on my tube.”

“Oh, well I’m really sorry but were going to have to do it all over again”

We walked in silence, I was feeling bad, I felt like I had brought this on myself and I was so fucked off that I had to have the same procedure again. No driving for two weeks, no running, no work, no strenuous anything. I had a job I would have to cancel and quick. It was bad enough that the bloody thing didn’t work, now this, I was just so pissed off. I was absolutely fine with it not working, but this, I felt like I was being punished, some higher power really didn’t want me to have a child, I felt fine all I wanted to do was leave the hospital and go home.

“Can’t you just give me an injection, I read somewhere that you could do that, can’t you do that?”

“It’s too late for that I’m afraid, the embryo has a heat beat, the only solution is surgery”

A heart beat, I felt completely sick, like I’d been hit with something sharp and heavy. It had a heart beat, it was alive and growing in my tube and the only alternative was to cut it out of me. It’s heart was beating, I really didn’t need to hear that, we were so close, it was living with a beating heart and there was nothing anyone could do to save it. I was so fucking mad! So I went back to the room and they prepped me for surgery and down I went.

I woke up a few hours later in a lot of pain, I was feeling so sad. I looked out of the window and saw two women walking down the road pushing baby buggies, now what? I remembered what my little nephews had told me (You can never have a baby because you’ve got white walls) turns out they were right.

“Hello” the consultant pushed the door open and came in.

“How are you feeling?”


“That’s to be expected, I can’t believe how unlucky you’ve been, I have never seen anyone have a miscarriage and then an ectopic pregnancy in the same week. You really have had the worst possible outcome, I am so sorry.”

She put her hand on mine, I was still taking it all in, I couldn’t believe it either. I had never been spoken to like that by a Doctor, it was unexpected, kind, I will never forget it.

The next two weeks were a blur of TV and Tramadol the doctor gave me a huge batch. So I sat drugged up to my eyeballs in front of the tele, watching crap with my cat on my lap. Thanks Betty x



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