Real Adoption Stories: Baby of Their Dreams

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From Heartache to Happiness

In 1993, Amy Fisher was a 21-year-old junior at the University of Arizona when her periods suddenly stopped. Amy's doctor attributed the problem to stress and prescribed the birth control pill so that her cycle would resume. Six years later, Amy married Keith, a software engineer who was eager to start a family. She went off the pill, but her periods didn't return; this time, blood tests revealed that Amy's hormonal levels seemed to indicate that she had become menopausal at 21.

A fertility specialist diagnosed her with Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), a disorder that affects as many as 10 percent of women under 40. Women with POF don't ovulate regularly, or they deplete their store of eggs before reaching the end of their reproductive years. The cause is unknown, but it may be related to genetics or an autoimmune problem. There is no cure and no effective treatment. When Amy learned her only options would be an IVF procedure using a donor egg and Keith's sperm or a donated embryo, "my whole world crashed," she says.

In the summer of 2000, the Fishers paid $1,000 to become certified by the state of Arizona to adopt. An Internet search led them to Snowflakes. Initially Amy refused to consider it, having already ruled out trying to conceive with an anonymous donor egg. "Why would I want a donated embryo?" she remembers thinking to herself. But as the months wore on, Keith persuaded Amy to rethink her position.

"When he said that we'd actually be saving the embryos, a lightbulb came on," Amy says. "This was the best of both worlds. We get to carry the child and be parents from day one." In the winter of 2001, the Fishers contacted Snowflakes, paid the $3,500 application fee, and completed the agency's detailed questionnaire, disclosing their views on everything from parenting to religious upbringing, and submitting a short biography and photos.

Late that spring, Snowflakes sent the Fishers' materials to the Houks. Robin and Kurt instantly recognized themselves in Amy and Keith; both couples are active in their churches and avid travelers, and both wanted minimal contact after the adoption -- just the occasional updates and pictures. The Houks chose the Fishers, and in September 2001 the couples signed the documents.

Amy began taking estrogen and progesterone to prepare her uterus to receive the embryos, three of which were thawed and implanted two months later. The odds of implantation were slim -- just 20 percent with frozen embryos, compared with 30 percent for fresh ones -- and the pregnancy test came back negative. In March 2002, the last four embryos were transferred to Amy's uterus; two weeks later, tests revealed that she was pregnant with one baby.

Amy began exchanging monthly e-mail messages with the Houks. After she learned she was carrying a girl from an ultrasound, she wrote to them about baby names and asked if they would mind if she and her husband chose Samantha (the Houks already had a daughter by that name). The Houks didn't object. On December 12, 2002, 8-pound Samantha Erin arrived. The Fishers' dream of parenthood had come true at last.

Continued on page 4:  Friends and Family


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