Since this request crossed my “desk" just before Christmas, and I am a bit nativity-crazy anyway (the above image is of one of my molded guest soap sets, “No Room at the Inn”), and even though IVF is not really (quite) immaculate conception, I couldn’t resist this metaphor. Not that I am known for my restraint anyway.
But, here is the situation: A U.S. non profit organization is looking for a woman who conceived a child *after* her partner’s death. This would involve (one imagines) using banked sperm. They’ve asked me to ask my communities for help.
And this isn’t going to be easy. Out of the several hundred stories I’ve heard from widows, I have only known of one family in this situation, and she (the Mom) has shut down her blog and completely disappeared under what I recall as very tense circumstances. I know dozens of women who were widowed while pregnant and many widows (and a few widowers) with banked sperm or eggs, and even embryos from prior IVF attempts. I know scores of widows who had children with new partners after being widowed, and as huge a joy as each of those births is, it sounds positively Mayberry compared to the rare situation we're looking for.
There must be thousands of cancer patients (including teens) who store sperm or eggs before undergoing treatment, and we know that not everyone survives cancer. (Well, I know that pretty well. Overall 5-year-survival for all cancers, without respect to age or patient’s interest in having children, is something like 60%.) Things change rapidly: services for young adults with cancer didn't exist ten years ago, and IVF is not only more common, acceptable, and accessible than it ever was when we were seeking conception, but loads more successful as well.
So I'm hopeful: If you are this Mom, or you know this Mom, please contact me and I will connect you with the folks who are seeking this rare and — you have to admit — at-least-a-little-bit miraculous family.