Mom Begs Another Woman to Trade Embryos so She Can Have a Son & the Internet Is Furious

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Embryo swap
MidoSemsem/iStock.com

A woman is facing some serious backlash after she took to the Internet to help her on her fertility journey. Lisa, 37, from New York City already has a 5-year-old son but is desperate to have another boy by any means possible. Lisa and her husband have gone through multiple rounds of in vitro fertilization without success and the mom is now down to her last viable embryo -- a female, which is not exactly what she was hoping for. Recently, Lisa's problem took a turn for the worse, after she took to the Internet hoping to "swap" her remaining female embryo for someone else's male one, but people online we not receptive of the mom's plan.

The backlash was almost immediate, with many people reporting the post online to get it removed. But Lisa is now speaking out about the outrage, arguing that if people don't understand her reasoning "They aren’t walking in my shoes.”

  • Lisa opened up about her troubled fertility journey and shared why she took to the Internet for help conceiving a boy.

    The mom spoke out about desire to have another son to the New York Post and told the publication that she took to the Internet after failing to have a second child for three years. Lisa, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy, explained that she and her husband already have a 5-year-old son but are trying to have their second child, specifically hoping for another boy. 

    “I’m doing this for my son,” the mom explained. “My husband grew up with sisters and wants a boy too. This is the way we want to complete our family.”

    Lisa shared that she had had fertility issues for years; she's already gone through several rounds of IVF but now is left with only one female embryo. In a last-ditch attempt to give her boy a brother, Lisa took to the internet to help her with her dilemma. The mom posted in an IVF support group on Facebook, thinking that she might be able to swap her remaining female embryo for a male one from another willing parent.

    “Hello, we have been trying to give my child a sibling for three years," she wrote. "We want to complete our family with a son. We have a great quality female embryo. Would you like to consider a trade?”

    The mom says that immediately several people within the community contacted the administrator, asking that her post be removed. No one said anything hateful, she clarified, but the mom explained that she definitely felt misunderstood about what happened. 

    Lisa says she and her husband Ray (who also asked that his name be changed) have had issues with fertility since 2009 when they got married. Lisa says that her husband, who is now 48 years old, battled testicular cancer throughout his 20s, and the chemotherapy he used as treatment for his illness unfortunately affected the quality of his sperm. 

    After several years of trying to conceive, the couple eventually went to the New Hope fertility clinic in 2012 and had one of four embryos implanted. The procedure was costly -- they spent $15,000 on IVF -- but it worked and nine months later their first son, Daniel, was born.

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  • The problem is that now that Lisa and Ray are trying to conceive again, their son is desperate for a brother too.


    Lisa told the newspaper that Daniel is “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?’

    “And I’m like, ‘Don’t make it any harder on me than it already is.’ He has no idea,” she added.

    Lisa wanted to give Daniel what he wished for, but the journey hasn't been easy. Three years ago Lisa did three rounds of IVF to get pregnant for a second time and none of them took. At that point, Lisa and Ray had used most of their savings trying to get pregnant and even cashed out Lisa's 401K to try two more times at the fertility clinic. Nothing was working. Some of the embryos didn't fully develop, whereas others were genetically compromised or failed to attach to her uterus. 

    In 2017, Lisa lost one of her embryos after finally getting pregnant and then miscarrying, which even today she said was a "heartbreaking" point in her fertility journey. 

    “I haven’t really gotten over it,” she said. “Since the miscarriage, I’ve been stuck on a boy." 

    The mom said that she's even saved all of Daniel's old clothes in hopes that she'll have another son. “We’ve saved all this boy stuff,” she said. “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.”

    And Lisa added that financially they were hoping for a boy because of the cost of living in New York City.

    She justified her reasoning by saying this: 

    “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.”

    But all of the planning came to naught this May, after they went through another round of IVF and ended up with only one female embryo. “I was surprised and sad [it was a girl],” Lisa admitted. 

    Lisa and Ray decided to switch to a different fertility clinic in upstate New York, spending another $12,000 to retrieve more of Lisa's eggs, but unfortunately there were no viable candidates. 

    Frustrated, Lisa and Ray had spent nearly $45, 000 at this point on fertility services and were desperate to find a way to get the son that they wanted. They currently keep their one female embryo in a storage facility that costs them $1,000 a month and Lisa suggested that the financial loss of trying to conceive is what prompted her to take a more extreme measure.

  • Lisa did have one person interested in her offer, another woman who already had her own son and six stepsons, so she was itching for a girl.


    Lisa said that another woman who was a member of the Facebook group sent her a private message and let her know that she was interested in the swap. 

    “She already has a toddler, and she has two male embryos left over,” Lisa explained. “Her husband said, ‘If we are going to go through this again, it’s going to be a girl!”

    But the deal isn't quite set in stone. She said that the woman needs to discuss the trade with her husband. “It depends whether he is hell-bent on [using] his own DNA,” the mom explained.

    She added that if the trade were to go through, she would be "open to" keeping in touch with her embryo's new family. Especially "on a medical basis in case the child needed stem cells or information or even just support.”

  • Since sharing her story with The Post, Lisa's request has sparked outrage online. Many people think that she's gone too far in her quest for a baby boy.

  • And others felt like the mom shouldn't hold out for a boy to make her son happy.

  • This woman wrote in that she felt sad for the embryo that Lisa wants to trade.

    But the mom won't be dissuaded. She said that despite the chatter online, she has no problem carrying someone else's potential biological child in exchange for her own. 

    “It doesn’t really matter,” she argued. “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.”

    And the mom explained that she and Ray have considered other alternatives, but they didn't seem like viable options for her family. In the past, she and Ray considered adoption but were disappointed to learn that it was an expensive and lengthy process. And they were reluctant to pursue embryo donation because it often doesn't work out. 

    The couple is now hoping that the trade will go through soon and that Lisa will be pregnant by Christmas. But again, she reiterated, they are determined to have a son. Lisa said that she's been approached by many parents who are willing to take her female embryo but don't have a male one to exchange. 

    “That is not going to work. We want a boy," she said, definitively.

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