A Gadsden County couple gave birth to a healthy baby boy after adopting an embryo that had been frozen for 15 years.
Noah was donated to an adoption agency as an embryo, which is the stage before becoming a fetus.
After struggling with fertility issues, Amanda and Jeremy Lewand decided to adopt the embryo, and they gave birth to Noah in February. The couple shared their story because they hope it will inspire other couples who had the same issues they faced.
“It was all worth it,” Amanda Lewand says. “After going through infertility, we had longed for a child so bad.”
The wait was even longer for little baby Noah.
“He was frozen in August 2005, so he was 15 years old when he was put inside me!’ Amanda Lewand says.
After a decade and a half of living in a deep freeze, Noah was born at Capital Regional Medical Center in February. He spent a week in the NICU before coming home.
“He’s just a very easy-going baby,” Jeremy Lewand says.
This was made possible by a process many have never heard of before: Embryo adoption.
“They have a list of profiles online,” Amanda Lewand says.
Dozens of parent profiles are available through the Florida Institute of Reproductive Medicine, allowing people to basically “shop” for the baby of their dreams.
‘We were given some basic personality characteristics and medical history, as well as physical characteristics” Jeremy Lewand says. “And those are some of the things we used to determine which profile we were going to pick.”
“We wanted a child that somewhat resembled our physical characteristics, so we wanted dark hair,” Amanda Lewand says.
The embryo adoption program consists of roughly 50 donor couples. The donors have gone through in vitro fertilization (IVF) themselves, and they then give leftover cryopreserved embryos to be used by other couples who are struggling with IVF.
“They gave us a chance to experience pregnancy and have our child, sorry, I’m getting emotional,” Amanda Lewand says.
It was an option presented to the Lewands after four years of trying. Doctors determined both Amanda and Jeremy had severe reproductive issues.
“We knew that if we didn’t pursue this, then it was going to be something we regret later on,” Jeremy Lewand says.
Now the couple is adjusting to life at home with the little one, planning for all the milestones that come along with parenthood.
“We need to celebrate his anniversary in the freezer, definitely!” Amanda Lewand says.
The couple says they want people who are struggling with infertility to know that there’s hope, and there are different avenues to explore. Their overall message: Do not give up.