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Embryo Adoption Allows Infertile Couples To Experience Pregnancy

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When families experience infertility, they often lose some of their dreams. Most couples that go through adoption miss the chance to experience pregnancy, but not all of them.

Simon and Tiffany Huang took a unique path to build their family and it worked out so well, they plan to do it all over again.

From a distance, Simon and Tiffany look like any other young parents, doting over their 31-month-old daughter.

“I still can’t believe she’s here,” Tiffany said. “I still can’t believe she’s part of our family and it’s really neat.”

Up close, though, it’s clear that they’re a little different. JoyJoy is adopted.

“I think the needs of a 2-year-old definitely crosses our minds every day,” Simon said. “But the fact that she was adopted or doesn’t look like us doesn’t cross our minds.”

Even that story has a twist. Simon and Tiffany actually adopted JoyJoy before she was born, adopting frozen embryos through Snowflakes, which is an organization that matches families with unused embryos from in vitro fertilization with parents who want them.

“The Snowflakes program has you go through everything a traditional adoption would do,” Simon said. “You just do it 9 months earlier.”

The process includes home visits and legal papers, like traditional adoptions.

“The donating family relinquishes their parental rights to their embryos,” Simon said, “and we take over the parental rights of these embryos.”

They chose this option because it allowed Tiffany to give birth.

“It’s not for every couple for sure,” she said, “but it was good for us.”

Embryo adoptions can be open, closed or somewhere in between. The Huangs became fully open when the two mothers started exchanging emails, even arranging a meeting on a trip to California.

“When we met with them in person,” said Tiffany, “it was incredible. It was like old friends meeting for the first time, in person.”

And JoyJoy met a girl who is actually her full sister – at least genetically.

“She’s unique in that she was born to our family and she was adopted into our family,” Simon said.

But in the end, it comes down to the smiles that JoyJoy inspires: The love and the next step in this family’s journey.

“We just adopted more embryos from another family through Snowflakes,” said Tiffany. “So yeah, we’re getting ready to go through it all again.

Embryo adoption is a term some agencies use to refer to this process, but others use embryo donation, where the families aren’t matched individually, and there aren’t any issues with parental rights.

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