Lisa, a mom desperate to give her son a little brother, is looking to trade embryos with another mom.
The 37-year-old actress is so desperate to have another son, she is ready to trade her one female embryo — the last embryo she has remaining after multiple rounds of IVF — for the male embryo of a stranger.
“I’m doing this for my son,” “My husband grew up with sisters and wants a boy too. This is the way we want to complete our family.”
Last Wednesday, Lisa took drastic action, sitting down at her computer and writing a message: “Hello, we have been trying to give my child a sibling for three years . . . we want to complete our family with a son. We have a great quality female embryo. Would you like to consider a trade?”
She posted the plea to a number of Facebook support groups for IVF couples — and the outrage was immediate. Although no hateful comments were visible to Lisa, enough people complained to forum moderators that her post was removed from one group’s page.
However, Lisa was contacted by a forty-something California woman interested in a potential swap.
“She already has a toddler, and she has two male embryos left over,” said Lisa. “Her husband . . . has six sons from another marriage and then they have a boy together.
“Her husband said: ‘If we are going to go through this again, it’s going to be a girl!”
Around three years ago, Lisa had a succession of transfer attempts where the remaining three frozen embryos didn’t take. The family dug into their savings and Lisa’s 401k to fund two subsequent rounds of IVF at New Hope. Most of the embryos didn’t develop, while others were genetically compromised or failed to implant in her uterus.
One of these rounds did, however, result in the successful implantation of a male embryo. Unfortunately, Lisa miscarried in July 2017.
“I haven’t really gotten over it,” she admitted. “Since the miscarriage, I’ve been stuck on a boy.
“We’ve saved all this boy stuff,” she added. “Some of it has emotional significance like Daniel’s first little snow suit which [looks like] a teddy bear. Then there’s the first outfit he came home from the hospital in.”
In May of this year, the couple went through another round of IVF at New Hope and froze a female embryo.
“I was surprised and sad [it was a girl,]” Lisa recalled.
Giving it one last go — for $12,000 — they switched to a clinic upstate and tried again in September, but the egg retrieval yielded no viable candidates. By then, they had shelled out more than $45,000 on fertility services.
That’s when Lisa and Ray decided to offer up their frozen female embryo, currently in a storage facility for which they pay $1,000 a year, to someone with a male embryo.
“I made up my mind as a reaction to losing the $12,000. Now I have a commodity — something I can leverage,” said Lisa.
When she asked nurses at the upstate clinic whether they knew anyone who wanted to swap embryos, they couldn’t reveal any patient information because of HIPAA regulations, but steered her toward Facebook groups as a place to look.
In an ideal world, Lisa would obtain a male embryo and be pregnant by Christmas as she doesn’t want the age gap between Daniel and the new baby to be too wide.
Her son is red-haired, and she is hoping for an embryo which might grow into having similar looks. As for the female embryo she has to offer, the girl is likely to be blonde or red-haired.
“My husband is Irish/British and I am Italian,” she said. “He also went to Yale. When people are looking for donors, one of the first things they ask about is whether they have a degree.”
She has received inquiries from would-be parents who are eager to take the female embryo, but don’t have a male to exchange.
“That is not going to work,” said Lisa. “We want a boy.”