CHELMSFORD (CBS) – Infertility can be a painful experience for couples trying to start a family. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotion that Shawn and Shannon McNamee know well.
For more than a year, Shannon injected herself hundreds of times. They tried several rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF). Nothing worked.
“You would get really hopeful and optimistic, then it would crash. The results came back negative every time,” Shawn told WBZ-TV.
The McNamees decided to adopt and now their living room is filled with toys and their hearts with love. Their son Logan is happy and curious and in no way intimidated by their 150-pound mountain dog.
“He’s just everything that I could have imagined as a baby and a son,” Shannon said.
Shannon and Shawn knew they wanted a sibling for Logan but finding the money for a second adoption would be near impossible. They had already raised money through Go Fund Me to cover the agency expenses for Logan and they didn’t feel right about doing that again.
“We couldn’t do it,” Shawn said.
They researched embryo adoption, where Shannon would carry an embryo frozen from another couple’s infertility treatment, but that wasn’t any more affordable.
“If we were going to do a traditional embryo adoption here, it would have been another $30,000 to $40,000 adoption,” Shannon explained.
But they found a way, 4,000 miles away at a clinic in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic.
“When we went overseas, it was less than $5,000 for the adoption that included the embryos, the transfer and all of the medications,” Shannon said.
According to the McNamees, the clinic offered them a second try if the first transfer didn’t take.
But it did take. After a procedure that took less than an hour and a week-long vacation, the McNamees got the news they were hoping for.
“We are pregnant with twins,” Shannon said.
Fertility specialist Dr. Kim Thornton of Boston IVF warns couples going overseas to do their research about the clinic they choose.
“You just want to make sure that a genetic screening is done up front, any sort of infectious disease screening is done up front,” she said.
According to Dr. Thornton, it’s also important to find out how long the embryos have been in storage.
“Embryo freezing techniques have changed over time and so embryos that have been frozen more recently are likely better quality embryos,” she added.
Shawn and Shannon are confident in the quality of their care and grateful for the chance to give life to the embryos. “It worked out. We couldn’t have afforded to do it any other way,” Shawn said.
They are nervous about having three kids under two in their house, but are thrilled to grow their family and give Logan two siblings.
“He’s going to be a good big brother,” Shannon said.
Massachusetts law does require insurance companies to cover fertility treatments, but donated eggs, or embryos are not covered.