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Bluegrass Fertility Center - News and Events

This section features news and events from the staff members at Bluegrass Fertility Center, Lexington, KY.

A Growing Trend: Donating Embryos

Dr. Akin was recently interviewed by local news WKYT about the possibility of donating embryos.  See the article and video below or view it directly on the WKYT website by clicking here.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Danny and Janette Slaven wanted children since they married in 2004. They tried to conceive for three years, and eventually turned to In vitro fertilization.

In vitro fertilization is a process where eggs from the female are taken and mixed with a partner's sperm in a fertility lab. Then, some of the embryo's (fertilized eggs) are inserted back into the woman.

The Slaven's journey started with a visit to Dr. James Akin, a fertility specialist in Lexington. Dr. Akin has been getting infertile couples pregnant since 1989. "Fifteen percent of couples have infertility," Akin explained.

Dr. Akin said with laboratory advancements in in vitro fertilization, couples have a one-in-three chance of getting pregnant with a single embryo. With the Slavens, they placed three embryos in Janette, and now, they have three perfect girls. "We were shocked," Janette Slaven said the day they found out all three embryos had attached.

The Slavens said it wasn't long after their triplets were born that they realized they didn't want any more children. "We've got our hands full, and our arms full," Danny Slaven told us.

But they still had extra embryos, four extra. The embryos were frozen in Dr. Akin's lab. The options for frozen embryos are use them, destroy them, or donate them.

Donating the embryos is a growing trend. Dr. Akin said much of the reason is because women are choosing careers before kids. "As women have become more career oriented, they delay child bearing," Akin has found. "And infertility increases as you get older."

The National Embryo Donation Center is an option for women who's eggs may not be good anymore. Donors can choose whether they want to be anonymous or open--much like a traditional adoption. A spokesperson for NEDC said open donation could mean anything from exchanging emails and pictures with the baby's parents, to the donor and recipient going on vacations together.

The Slavens decided to anonymously donate their four extra embryos. "I feel like if they carry the baby to term, it then would be their baby, not our baby."

"For us, it wasn't giving the baby up for adoption, it was giving someone else a chance at pregnancy," said Janette Slaven.

"It's pay it forward and do something nice for someone else, someone that might not have a chance to have a child, it's a very good thing to do," Dr. Akin said.


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