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Embryo Donation: October 25, 2011

When it came to having children, age caught up with Lisa Murray.

“I was a little older so I had some issues there. I tried several times, over a dozen times probably with IUI procedure which is just like a natural in office conception procedure.”

All the failed attempts didn’t stop her from wanting to expand her family. Her fertility specialist brought up using donated embryos conceived through someone else’s in vitro fertilization cycle and not used.

“Sometimes a young couple gets six embryos, transferred two and they have four other embryos that they freeze,” says Dr. Craig Sweet, a productive endocrinologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

The remaining embryos are kept in cryopreservation. In cases where patients no longer need them, many are starting to donate them to other women who can’t have children.

Those embryos are then thawed and transferred into a patient that fulfills all the requirements for transfer. They get to carry, nurture, deliver and experience the pregnancy bond.

Lisa took a chance and it paid off, two fold.

“They’re 16 months right now this is Tess and here we have Cole.”

Unlike undergoing fertility treatments or in vitro fertilization, Lisa didn’t require any medications to get pregnant. Doctors implanted the embryos into her womb coinciding with her regular monthly reproductive cycle.

“The timing is everything. I was fortunate enough that I don’t have any issues that I needed drugs to stimulate my cycle or anything,” says Lisa.

“If they’re still ovulating, that is making their own eggs and their hormones are adequate we’ll just simply watch to find when they’re ovulating, thaw the embryos and transfer them just like they were coming in through her own fallopian tubes,” says Dr. Sweet.

If women have already started menopause or had cancer, they may need additional help.

“We then have to give either oral or injectable medications, mimic her ovaries, build the lining up and then transfer the embryos in that matter,” says Dr. Sweet.

Lisa’s pregnancy went off without a hitch.

“The multiple pregnancy was hard as opposed to a single one, just the symptoms and everything was magnified but I never felt like they were something foreign in my body,” says Lisa.

Proving new options are giving more women a shot at life.