Couple Who Donated Frozen Embryos 20 Years Ago Meets Their Biological Triplets

Bioethics   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Oct 24, 2022   |   2:13PM   |   Washington, DC

Embryo adoption is giving life to unborn babies who were conceived for the infertility treatment in vitro fertilization.

Some couples choose to have their unused embryos destroyed or donated to scientific research, but Brooke and Chris Martin, of Texas, wanted to give all their children – and a couple struggling with infertility – a chance.

Speaking with Fox 26 Houston last week, the couple said they recently met their three biological children who were adopted as embryos, triplets who grew up in a loving family in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We always had faith that when we donated, that they would be taken care of. The couple would have to go through the same thing that we did, which was agonizing. I mean, people don’t realize all that couples go through while dealing with this,” Chris Martin said.

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More than two decades ago, the Martins struggled to get pregnant and turned to in vitro fertilization (IVF), a common but complex and expensive infertility procedure that involves taking eggs and sperm from both parents and creating embryos in a lab before implanting one or more in the mother’s womb. These embryos are unique human beings in their earliest stage of life.

Often, IVF involves creating more embryos than are used, making it controversial among pro-lifers; these typically are frozen and stored, with the options of donating them to research, destroying them or storing them indefinitely. The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) estimates there are between 700,000 and 1 million human embryos frozen in storage in the United States today.

However, some couples like the Martins choose the life-affirming option of embryo, or snowflake, adoption.

After giving birth to twin boys, the Martins said they decided to make an adoption plan for their remaining embryos. And for about 20 years, the Texas family did not know what happened to them.

Then, Thomas Monroe received a DNA test for his 18th birthday and decided to try to find out more about his biological family. His mother, Becky Monroe, had died recently of cancer, and his father, Trey, supported his son’s desire to find the Martins, according to the report.

“I had a little trepidation, but I also had a history of having found my own biological family through DNA testing and that has been nothing but wonderful, so I knew it could work very well,” Trey Monroe told Fox 26. “With a lot of prayer and just attention to little things, that gave me some peace.”

Thomas Monroe and his siblings, Lauren and Peter, always knew they had been adopted, and the Martins’ sons, Christopher and Matthew, knew that they potentially had biological siblings out in the world somewhere, according to the report.

So, when Thomas found the Martins, it was an emotional but joyful time for all of them. The two families recently met, including all the siblings. Becky Martin said she noticed a lot of similarities between all five children, from their interests in music to the way they walk, according to the report.

Afterward, Peter Monroe said the Martins are “really good people,” and he was glad that they had the opportunity to meet.

His sister, Lauren Monroe, said she is thankful that the Martins and her parents both gave them life.

“If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. It’s a group effort, of course! My mom had us and carried us but from the beginning, and it was them who blessed us, so I think in the end it helped us, and I really do think it was sent by my mom,” Lauren said.