Why I gave my mosaic embryo a chance

Five months later, I received a call from a doctor replacing my doctor; she canceled my appointment, saying she was uncomfortable transferring a mosaic embryo. I was livid and overwhelmed with grief.

“The larger question that arises with embryo testing is who can take the risk of bringing a potentially disabled child into the world,” Dr. Taylor said. “The decision should not be left to doctors. Patients should have the freedom to decide and be properly counseled in cases where there are abnormalities that will inevitably lead to death.

Parents I had met online described transporting or driving their abnormal and mosaic embryos frozen in bulky metal tanks to other clinics when their doctors refused to transfer them. Luckily, my GP came back and set a new appointment for the following month.

My husband and I were lucky. Our beautiful imperfect embryo attached to the uterine wall, mesmerizing us with its wild beating heart on twice-weekly ultrasounds. As each week brought new worries – that I might miscarry, that the baby had other abnormalities undetected in embryo testing – I found solace in the words of Dr Taylor: “Mosaicism is more common than you might think. Many of us are mosaics without knowing it.

At three months, my doctor recommended a blood test that checked the baby’s DNA fragments in my blood to see if he was at risk for genetic abnormalities. By this point, my husband and I had started noticing families at the dog park whose children had genetic disabilities. We quietly found acceptance that we were going to add variety to families in our community and decided that we would not end the baby no matter the outcome.

They came back normally. But like the tests on the embryos, the blood test cannot definitively diagnose the genetic condition of a fetus. Our doctor suggested a more accurate amniocentesis test, but we had already made up our minds. I decided to leave it there.

Now, during ultrasounds, our daughter hides her face behind her hands or presses hard against the placenta, as if asking us to let her grow in privacy. When I last saw her full profile, at five months gestation, her long, pointed nose was prominent and unmistakable. I wondered if it was a feature of the extra 22nd chromosome or if she just inherited my husband’s nose. As my due date approaches, her genetic profile is less of a concern. I’m glad we made it this far.

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