Thank you all for your comments on “Plans in Pencil.” I’ve been thinking about what to do with those embryos a lot lately and along with it has come the return of the old anger and bitterness, some of which you can see in both the piece I wrote for Listen to Your Mother and the recent post on grief.
When I returned to work after the LTYM show, I found a curious email in my work inbox. It was from a friend of someone who had attended the show, and she asked about adopting our embryos because they are undergoing infertility as well. I guess her friend had told her about my piece and my mention of our embryos, but it appeared the gist of the piece had not been conveyed.
The writer’s pain was obvious in her email. Part of me was floored that she had emailed me, a complete stranger, about our embryos and she had to search a bit to find my email.
Seeing this email two days after the show, I could not respond. I didn’t know how to respond. I was exhausted both physically and emotionally and I had no words other than, “no, you may not have them.”
I still haven’t responded, and that’s cruel of me. I know how she feels. I know how desperate she must feel to email a stranger. I need to respond, but what do I say? Is it possible to let her down gently? Maybe I am dreading her counter reply of asking me why I can’t donate my embryos to her if I’m not going to use them and accusing me of being selfish. Are we being selfish by keeping them frozen and neither donating them to research nor placing them for adoption?
Many decisions are selfish, though. Our decision to use surrogacy to have a biological child is often deemed selfish (at least in the media and comment sections). Someone else’s decision to adopt could be selfish depending on motivations. A relative’s decision to have three children could be interpreted as selfish by someone concerned about the impact on the environment and overcrowding.
Sometimes in the realm of infertility, it seems you are always making someone unhappy.