Unable to have biological children of their own, Liz and Kevin Krainman turned to a relatively new and little-known way to adopt their now 4-month-old daughter.
The Krainmans, of Austin, Texas, used embryo adoption to bring their daughter, Sammy, into their lives.
“When I first discovered embryo adoption, it was like Christmas morning,” Liz Krainman, 33, told ABC News. “Something just clicked that was like I had no idea this existed, [that] I could be pregnant and I could have a child that’s adopted.”
The Krainmans got the embryo that became their daughter from a couple, Libby and Tony Kranz, who live almost 1,700 miles away.
The Kranzes underwent five rounds of IVF treatments and suffered through five miscarriages before they adopted a child of their own, a daughter they named Jennifer, in 2007.
Miraculously, after the adoption, Libby Kranz, 35, got pregnant naturally three times and delivered three healthy babies, now ages 5, 3 and 1.
With their family of six complete, the Kranzes were left with four unused embryos.
While most unused embryos are either destroyed or used for science, some couples, like the Kranzes, choose to put their embryos up for adoption. These frozen embryos are affectionately called “snowflake babies.”
“We gave them a gift and people like to say, ‘Oh, they gave such a generous gift,’ but they gave us a gift too,” Libby Kranz told ABC News. “They gave us the perfect landing spot for these embryos.”
The Krainmans’ daughter, Sammy, was actually conceived in 2006. The embryo that became her was on ice in a storage facility for seven years before being adopted.
“Just knowing that she was frozen for so long as a little ball of cells and then awakened, that process just blows my mind,” Krainman said. “Love is what made her. The love of so many people went into creating her and bringing her here.”
In a sad twist, the Kranzes’ adopted daughter, Jennifer, was diagnosed with cancer around the same time that Krainman became pregnant with Sammy and later died at the age of 6.
The Kranzes have since started a non-profit organization, Unravel Pediatric Cancer, to raise awareness and research funds for the disease.
The family calls the decision to donate the embryo to the Krainmans a “gift” they are proud of.
“This was a gift for Liz and Kevin and it is a gift for us,” said Libby Kranz. “It’s a gift that we gave ourselves, I guess, because we did the right thing and we know it.”
“I’m proud of it and it’s a nice feeling to be proud of yourself for something,” she said.