The Nightlight Christian Adoptions “Snowflakes Frozen Embryo Adoption” program is helping parents in adopting embryos that have been left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. The program has been gaining in popularity since the birth of the first baby adopted through the program in 2003.
“Snowflake children” are children who are born through the adoption of embryos left over from IVF. The child’s is not genetically related to the adopted parents as they were not the original cell or egg donors.
The process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) creates multiple embryos. From those created, doctors then select the healthiest to implant in the woman. The woman/couple undergoing IVF can then choose whether to discard the extras, have them re-inserted at a time when they are least likely to survive, or frozen in storage – which can cost a few hundred dollars per year.
The Christian adoption group estimates that there are over 600,000 frozen embryos currently within the United States. Evangelical Christians support the group and have begun to encourage people with frozen embryos in storage to make them available for adoption. In 2006 former President George W. Bush invited children who were adopted as embryos to join him at the White House, stating, “These boys and girls are not spare parts.”
The program allows couples to donate their remaining unused embryos for others to adopt and then give birth to their adopted child – the embryos that are adopted through the Snowflakes program were donated from families who originally created them for IVF treatment.
The Vatican and church officials do not prohibit embryo adoption, and over 300 babies have been born through the Snowflakes program to date.