Embryo adoption service gives couple gift of child

Embryo adoption service gives couple gift of child
SEATTLE -- Just nine months ago, little Esther was thawing out in a petri dish after a three-year freeze.

But thanks to cutting-edge technology, the 7-pound newborn is now the answer to a prayer that's been five years in the making.

Rachel and Diony Victorin spent thousands of dollars over four in-vitro fertilization attempts in hopes of getting pregnant, but their efforts yielded nothing but grief.

"All the ups and downs of fertility treatment, the sorrow and the heartache, the crying and the tears every time, hoping it was the time," Rachel Victorin said of the arduous process of starting a family.

The frustration finally ended when the Victorins found Bothell's Cedar Park Church and its embryo adoption services, the only ministry-based center of its kind in the county.

Through Cedar Park, the Victorins were able to adopt the embryo that would become Esther. Diony Victorin still marvels at the science that helped him become a father.

"That would be unheard of years ago," he said. "But now, look at that. It is possible!"

The woman who made Esther possible doesn't want her name known, so we'll call her "Melissa."

Melissa, who already had one daughter before getting a hysterectomy, still had five embryos on ice. She said she just couldn't throw them away, so she put them up for adoption at Cedar Park.

"It didn't seem right," she said. "Didn't seem right.There had to be a way that they could have life and be born."

Melissa was overjoyed when she learned that a woman had become pregnant using one of her embryos. And now that she's seen photos of little Esther, she said the resemblance to her own daughter, Bobby, is uncanny.

"She looks exactly like my daughter's picture. The pictures look the same," she said.

The only question left is whether the two biological sisters, who came from the same batch of embryos and live just 36 minutes apart, will ever meet face to face.

"Are they going to meet each other? Are they going to know each other? Are they going to think mom was totally out of her mind to do this?" Melissa wonders.

Rachel Victorin wonders the same thing. And she hopes that at some point, the two families can come together.

"That's my hope," she said. "I would really like to meet the family."

Esther is the eighth baby to be born using Cedar Park's services, and the oldest embryo to be implanted and born spent 13 years in the freezer.

The service costs $3,500.