CBSN

Extra Embryos Aid The Childless

A bill to lift federal limits on embryonic stem cell research has pitted Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist against President Bush. Monday, on The Early Show a paralyzed woman, who believes the cells could help her walk, shared her story. In the second part of the series, Two Faces Of Hope, Correspondent Tracy Smith has another side of the story.

Tracy and J.J. Jones shared the same dreams so many couples have: Fall in love, get married, and start a family. But several years of trying - and then infertility treatments - didn't work.

"It's heartbreaking," says Tracy Jones. "Every month, I cried. Every time my period came, I cried."

Meanwhile, another couple, who lived thousands of miles away, was wrestling with their own dilemma. Heather and David Wright had twins via in vitro fertilization, and a third child less than a year later. They felt their family was complete. But they wondered what to do with their 10 frozen embryos, left over from IVF.

Heather Wright explains, "If we could help somebody else that wanted a family, as bad as we had wanted our family and couldn't, and we could give these embryos, these little children, to somebody else, there was no doubt in my mind."

So the Wrights donated their embryos to a program called "Snowflakes." Run by Nightlight Christian Adoptions, Snowflakes matches couples who have extra embryos, like the Wrights, with couples desperate to have a baby, like the Joneses. They call it "embryo adoption."

J.J. Jones says, "As kind of far-fetched as it seemed, the idea of being able to be both adoptive and birth parents was just a miracle to us."

The Joneses hoped their embryo implantation would work. But the success rate for the procedure is low - less than 30 percent. Of the 10 embryos the Wrights gave the Joneses, seven did not survive the thaw. The remaining three were implanted in Tracy Jones' uterus. One gave them the news they had been waiting for.

"I didn't believe the doctor," Tracy Jones says, laughing. "I didn't feel pregnant."

J.J. Jones notes, "We went through probably two-dozen pregnancy tests, all the different brands, every kind you can imagine, 3 or 4 times a day.

Nine months later, Trey was born.