Part of the embryo adoption process (which I shared in our checklist post!) includes required third-party counseling. Without releasing too many personal details, I wanted to share what this looked like for us in case it helps others going through embryo adoption. The counselor we chose was recommended by another local embryo adoption family, so we were able to do this close to home instead of at the clinic, thus saving another 6-hour round trip! All three sessions were completed back-to-back on the same day, which also made life easier. Glenn and I took half vacation days from work to make this happen, and we scheduled it at a time that the embryos’ biological mom was off work so it wouldn’t affect her normal schedule.
SESSION 1: Our Session: We met with the counselor for 90 minutes. The purpose of the session was not to identify our ability to parent children who are not biologically ours. She was not trying to identify how well we parent our current child either. She helped us walk through potential issues we could come up against, she encouraged us with best practices for handling such issues, and talked through different resources that would be beneficial for us. A lot of the conversation was “how would you handle this if it came up?” And we talked through whatever that thing was. I felt like we walked out of there better prepared for what lies ahead. I would say we were very encouraged!
SESSION 2: Donor’s Session: The biological mom met with the same counselor after us for 90 minutes as well. Glenn and I took this time to go get some Vietnamese for lunch and talk about the session while we waited for our time to return. From what I understand, her session was to make sure she was completely okay with the decision made, to talk about how her family is dealing with the decision, her expectations for the relationship moving forward, etc.
SESSION 3: Joint Session: Once both parties’ individual sessions were complete, we came together for a joint 45-minute session and this was really special. We laughed, we joked, and we talked through some of the more serious aspects of this whole thing. It was a really awesome time for all of us. I honestly could have stayed longer! None of it was awkward.
So that is what our third-party counseling looked like for embryo adoption! It was really simple and not as scary as some people think. The hardest part is figuring out the timing. We went into it confident that it would be fine and it truly was. As previously mentioned, we as the adoptive family pay for all of this ourselves. It’s not the burden of the donor family to pay for these requirements and we’re honored to do it.
One more requirement down and one step closer to scheduling a transfer!