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Mom Goes Online to Trade Her Last IVF Embryo for a Boy One: ‘I’m Doing This for My Son’

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Lisa is hoping to be pregnant by Christmas … as long as she can be sure it’s a boy.

As Mamamia reports, the 37-year-old actress and mom from New York City has a picture of the perfect family — and it includes a brother for her 5-year-old son, Daniel.

Lisa and her husband, Ray, began having fertility issues soon after their marriage in 2009. As a young man, Ray battled testicular cancer, and the chemotherapy and radiation affected his ability to have children.

In 2012, the couple spent $15,000 on IVF and were blessed with a son, Daniel. Lisa told the New York Post:

“He’s our world and a beautiful child. But, as soon as he could talk, he was asking for a sibling. Every time he sees other kids — there’s a lot in our family and in our neighborhood — he is like: ‘He has a brother. Why don’t I have a brother?'”

As the mom notes, her son has no idea what the family has gone through in their quest for a second child.

The three remaining embryos from their original round of IVF didn’t implant, so Lisa and her husband dipped into their savings for more treatments. Two more rounds of IVF didn’t produce a successful pregnancy or viable embryo, so they tried again. This time, there was only one embryo — a girl, which they had frozen.

The couple tried again at another clinic in upstate New York. This time, they weren’t able to develop a single viable embryo.

Thus, after $45,000 spent on treatments, Lisa and her husband have only one viable embryo — the girl that is being stored for $1000 a month.

Unfortunately, Lisa wants a boy.

It’s not just her son’s request for a brother that is guiding her preference. She told the Post it’s a family decision:

“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.”

Lisa says they still have lots of boys stuff from their son, some of which “has emotional significance,” like her son’s first snowsuit and coming home outfit. There’s also a financial component. She told the Post:

“Economically, it makes sense for us to have a boy. We have a two-bedroom house with no space for a third bedroom. We bought it when Daniel was an infant, and now prices have risen so much in this neighborhood. There is no way we could afford [a separate bedroom for a girl]. We’d have to move to Nebraska.”

And there’s another factor that has Lisa thinking about baby boys. In 2017, the IVF treatments resulted in a boy embryo that was implanted. But Lisa miscarried. Ever since then, she told the Post, she hasn’t “really gotten over it. Since the miscarriage, I’ve been stuck on a boy.”

The couple considered adoption, but the time and expense involved was off-putting. Unwilling to wait years for a second child, they also rejected the possibility of getting a donated embryo. But the amount of money required to store their female embryo made Lisa begin to think she might be able to trade for a boy.

She told the Post: “I made up my mind as a reaction to losing the $12,000. Now I have a commodity — something I can leverage.”

Privacy laws meant the fertility clinic couldn’t connect Lisa with anyone who had male embryos, but the nurses suggested she look to Facebook groups as a possible solution.

So Lisa posted to multiple IVF support groups with her plea for a trade. One such post began by explaining that they recently had an IVF failure with six abnormal eggs and continued:

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, hatching! Would like to consider a trade? Donor egg: Italian. Sperm: English, Irish, Yale-educated.

The response to Lisa’s post was largely negative. Outraged members complained to the moderators, and Lisa’s post was removed from at least one group.

However, her efforts did bear fruit. Lisa was contacted by a mother in California who has a toddler boy, two male embryos, and six stepsons. The woman’s husband wants a girl, and Lisa says they might trade if they can work out the legal issues and if the woman’s husband isn’t set on using their own DNA.

The DNA issue doesn’t bother Lisa or her husband. She told the Post that she isn’t bothered by critics who blasted her for giving up her biological child in favor of a boy who isn’t related to her:

“It doesn’t really matter. I think if I carry the baby, I would have a bond. I know so many women who have gone through IVF with donor eggs and that’s their child. A friend, who is white and Jewish, adopted a black child. That’s his son. That bond is unbreakable.”

Lisa says she has been approached by people willing to take the girl embryo but who don’t have a boy to trade. However, she isn’t willing to give away the girl without a boy in exchange.

The mom is hoping to find her boy embryo by Christmas so that there won’t be too big of an age gap between her sons. A local couple would be preferable to avoid legal complications, and she’s willing to stay in touch with the other family.

Lisa told the Post she isn’t moved by the criticism she has received as a result of her trade offer: “They aren’t walking in my shoes.”

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