CHAGRIN FALLS-Niki and Brian Schaefer of Chagrin Falls credit their fertility doctor for giving them their beautiful family of four. “Family is everything, my children are everything to me and they are the reason that I feel so indebted to Dr. Goldfarb,” said Niki Schaefer.
The Schaefer’s son, Noah, was conceived through IVF and their daughter, Lane, through embryo transfer. The couple also has four frozen embryos still in storage at their hospital.
“Going through fertility treatments was probably the hardest thing that I ever experienced in my whole life,” explains Schaefer, who began the process in 2008.
Niki heard about the freezer malfunction at the University Hospitals Fertility Clinic that may have left 2,000 eggs and embryos nonviable and knew she and her husband had to do something.
Schaefer said, “I looked at Lane, my daughter, who is a frozen embryo or formerly frozen embryo and it was you know, knowing that these people lost their chance to have theirs, it is heartbreaking.”
The Schaefers decided to donate their remaining four frozen embryos, which are stored at another hospital, to the affected families.
“That empathy for people going through what I went through it sort of what prompted all of this and the embryo donation now,” she said.
Schaefer says she always thought it was the right thing to do, but admits she has been uncomfortable with the thought of letting her embryos go.
“My kids look exactly alike and they look like me and my husband and I thought that I would always be like looking around at a mall or something and thinking maybe I would see someone who looked like them there and think that it was my embryo that became a child,” she said.
Schaefer says in the past she was frustrated with herself for not being able to donate the embryos, but now she’s 100% comfortable with her decision. After hope for 600 prospective parents to have families could be gone, it seems there was a plan for the Schaefer embryos all along.
“It feels very fortuitous that I was indecisive about what to do with them all these years now that we have the opportunity to really use them for good,” she said.
Schaefer wrote about her and her husband’s decision in a Facebook post and says women who also want to donate their embryos after reading her story are already contacting her.