Blog Post

Couple Lists Unused Embryos on Craigslist

When in vitro fertilization (IVF) left a couple from Des Moines, Iowa with 18 "leftover" embryos, they decided to use Craigslist as a way to find surrogate parents for their frozen offspring so that they could stay in touch with the children they didn't want to raise themselves. 

WHO is reporting the bizarre story of Deb and Kevin McCrea who resorted to fertility treatments to have two of their three children - Hunter and Carter. They went on to have a daughter, Kerynn, through IVF, a procedure which resulted in 18 spare embryos. The couple was given three options - use the embryos themselves, donate them to a clinic, or give them away for stem cell research.

“We went in to give life and just because the doctor chose the two that we got doesn’t mean the other 18 shouldn’t have a chance at life also,” said Deb McCrea.

Deb was given a form to sign to donate them to the clinic but said something just didn't feel right.

“When my daughter was born, I went months and months just thinking I just don`t want to sign, I`m just not ready to sign them yet,” Deb explained, “I don`t want to give up that right to see pictures of that child and compare that child to ours, and see what they would have looked like and if they`re healthy and happy, so I always kind of pushed them [the papers] to the side on the counter.”

One day, while looking on Craigslist, she found a discussion forum and thought she'd join in to see if there were any couples who might be interested in adopting her unused embryos. Her dream would be to offer an open adoption that would allow she and her husband to receive regular updates and pictures of the child, and even be able to visit from time to time.

Much to her surprise, within hours Deb received a response from a woman in San Francisco. From there, the interest kept growing.

“I think one thing that surprised me was how many people that there really are out there that are looking for something like this. So it really surprised me the response she got after she posted that,” said Kevin McCrea.

The McCrea's drew up paperwork detailing how this "open adoption" would work, hopefully, allowing her and her husband to visit and eventually let the children know who they were. However, if the couple wanted their privacy, the McCrea's would honor it and expect nothing more than a update and picture once a year.

"I think they have a  right to privacy if that`s what they end up choosing is right for them as long as we still get the picture and the update," Deb said, adding that "we`re still getting a whole lot more than we would if we would had just anonymously donated or given them to medical research.”

The McCrea’s found two couples who are willing to adopt the embryos and are planning to give them nine embryos a piece. The Florida couple is planning a pregnancy try on May 10th and another couple from Chicago is looking to try for a pregnancy in June.

“In a way it`s almost like adopting out your own child, but in a way it`s not. We look at it as we gave them their looks and they`re giving them their life. It`s still going to be the women who are creating that life and without them our embryos would be nothing,” said Deb.

Dealing with precious human life in such a bizarre way has caused many to wonder where this is all headed. 

"Imagine knowing that your biological parents made way too many offspring in a lab, didn't want you themselves and so found some adoptive parents for you on Craigslist," writes Rebecca Taylor on the Creative Minority Report blog.

"And it's Catholics who have crazy ideas about procreation?"

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