ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – When most of us think of the word “donation,” money or clothing often comes to mind. However, there are other kinds of donations that can answer prayers for families, like it did for the Sandovals of Abilene.
There’s a lot of love in the Sandoval home. Crystal and Anthony’s love doubled when their identical twins, Madilyn and Mikah were born in September of 2015.
“When they were really little it was really challenging. When we first brought them home from the hospital. It was hard to tell,” Crystal Sandoval says when asked about telling her twins apart.
Now for these loving parents, it’s easy to tell who is who.
Sandoval adds, “Mikah is very sensitive, calm, and she’s got a really loving nature to her. I would say she’s very emotional at times. We joke that we may not share genetics but she is my little remake. She’s got a little bit of a temper. She’s kind of a high strung personality. As we see here.” A little more of an adventurer. Daredevil. Yes,” adds Anthony Sandoval.
The journey to bring these loving girls home wasn’t without its struggles.
“We started seeking infertility treatment in 2013,” says Anthony Sandoval.
A year went by with little success.
Sandoval says,”I know for a long time, she carried this kind of shame feeling like she couldn’t give us a family. She couldn’t get pregnant, whatever the case was and I’m like, it’s not your fault. I would never blame you. We don’t know what’s going on. We have unexplained infertility. We don’t know where the deficiency is, how to correct it.”
A fertility specialist in Lubbock brought up embryo adoption. Something the Sandoval’s didn’t know much about.
“A lot of couples, you know, choose to go through IVF and to basically bring a biological child, using science to do that. And a lot of times because of the overstimulation with the ovaries, the basically end up with access embryos,” says Sandoval.
Embryos that can be donated to science, destroyed, or donated to couples like the sandovals. This would mean Crystal could actually be pregnant.
“Her being able to carry a pregnancy and kind of enjoy those facets of it,” says Anthony Sandoval.
It’s of course a process to transfer an embryo. The Sandoval’s selected a profile with two embryos.
“We got to the clinic and the embryologist told us he had some unfortunate news,” shares Sandoval.
They could only trace one embryo.
Anthony Sandoval says, “There’s only one. And when you’ve gone through this journey, you’re so on pins and needles anyway and you just want to maximize your odds. So when we found out there was one, there was obvious disappointment. You’re thinking your chances just decreased a little bit.”
After blood work, they got the positive pregnancy result they’ve been waiting for. Then the ultrasound a few weeks later to confirm their pregnancy.
Crystal Sandoval adds, “We went for our 8 week ultrasound. It was really quiet in the room because you’re looking for a heart beat. It’s really early because you’re like seven weeks along. She finds the heartbeat and of course we’re just beside ourselves that we have a living a baby. And then she starts to laugh. We were like, okay, what’s so funny. She’s kind of a dry humored people and she says, there’s two.”
Their one embryo split into two, “Of course, our hearts are completely overjoyed.”
Like all parents of toddlers, their hands are full. But nothing compares to the size of their hearts that are now open to other couples on the journey they’ll never forget.
“I ust want to create a normalcy for that. For people to know that we have hearts for just adoption in general. For a female, wanting to be a mother, just being able to carry a pregnancy and go through that process, just to have those feelings of excitement, just the anticipation of being a mother. I want people to know there’s that chance,” says Crystal Sandoval.
The Sandoval’s say embryo adoption is typically a cheaper option for families costing about $5,000 compared to an average of $15,000 for In vitro fertilization. Because the embryos are donated, families are paying for the actual procedures involved and not for the embryos.