The Stappers and Jaspers-Fayers are charting new territory when it comes to the 21st-century definition of a loving family.
In August of last year, Don and Elly Jaspers-Fayer’s longtime dream of becoming parents finally came true, and the hopes of donor parents Christina and Ben Stapper also came to fruition.
Little Dawson Jaspers-Fayer, who entered the world Aug. 27, 2013, is the first baby born through the Beginnings Family Services open embryo donation program.
After trying to have a baby for the better part of a decade through various natural methods, as well as assisted reproductive technologies, the Jasper-Fayers reconnected with the Stapper family at a social gathering.
Both couples shared their stories of infertility, and a bond — soon to become even much more stronger — was created.
The Stappers went through infertility struggles similar to the Jaspers-Fayers, but were successful in completing their family of three when twin boys were born through in vitro fertilization. However, Christina and Ben were left with many frozen embryos. Like many Canadian couples, they faced the dilemma of what to do with their embryos — store them indefinitely, donate to medical research, donate anonymously or destroy.
Dorothy Isaac, development and public relations coordinator, for Beginnings, said the Stappers were not alone in their dilemma. Thirteen per cent, or one in six, Canadian couples have infertility issues, and the number of frozen embryos being stored in Canada is roughly 50,000.
“When couples go through in vitro fertilization, they often have a number of embryos left, and our program addresses that,” said Isaac. “The open embryo donation program provides the opportunity to donate the remaining embryos to those who are infertile and are hoping to become parents.”
Beginnings started its open embryo donation program in 2010. At the time it was the first program of its kind in Canada.
Beginnings provides screening, matching, facilitation counselling and ongoing support services, as well as co-ordination with the fertility clinic where the embryo transfer takes place. The Beginnings program is based on openness, with donor and recipient families meeting each other and having an ongoing connection. The Stapper and Jaspers-Fayer families have opted to share a very close and unique bond that honours the role of baby Dawson’s three older brothers.
“Our boys look forward to getting to know their little brother and to teaching him many things, like playing hide and seek and how to climb as high as possible in trees,” said Christina.
As for what the future holds, both families agree they are navigating new territory, but with the assistance of Beginnings, they are doing it as a committed team.
Along with the open embryo donation program, Beginnings has been providing services related to pregnancy and adoption since 1985. The not-for-profit pregnancy counselling and adoption agency is based at 1 Young Street in downtown Hamilton.
Isaac said Beginnings’ approach is always child-centered and dedicated to building and supporting healthy family relationships.
For more information, call 1-877-528-6665, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.beginnings.ca.