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COUPLE OFFERS TO DONATE 6 FROZEN EMBRYOS

Medical science helped Donna and Ron to have a baby through in vitro fertilization, after 15 maddening years of her being unable to get pregnant.

Now, they want to do the same for another childless couple, by offering to donate their six fertilized, frozen embryos sitting unused in storage at a Broward County, Fla., fertility clinic.

"This is our gift at Christmastime," Ron, a production manager of 43, said in a news conference Wednesday. "We just want to give someone else the chance to experience being parents, as we did."

The couple, from a suburb west of Fort Lauderdale, asked that their last name and personal details be withheld to avoid attention from people who oppose their decision.

The six embryos -- fertilized eggs ready for implanting in a mother's uterus -- were left over after Donna was impregnated with their son, Ronnie, now 7 1/2 .

The delivery in 1990 was so rough that doctors told her that she should never have another child.

Seven years later, in February, the clinic wrote to the couple urging that the embryos be discarded or used for research. Donna and Ron, who are devout Christians, refused.

Donna, a 41-year-old homemaker, said she called dozens of doctors and adoption lawyers looking for someone who wanted the embryos. No takers. They decided to give them away.

"I just want to find a good home for my kids," Donna said. "I would have loved to have used them, but I couldn't.

"Some people tell me they're just cells, like fingernail clippings or hair -- throw them away. But they are my kids. I don't think God gave me these lives to let them melt. What do you do, put them on the windowsill and let them thaw?"

Their attorney, Charlotte Danciu of Boca Raton, Fla., will screen applicants and help choose the recipients. The only criterion is that the chosen couple rear the baby as a Christian, Donna said.

There will be many, many takers, said fertility doctors and Nora Rupert, former president of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., chapter of Resolve, a national group for infertile couples.

"People will be happy to get them," said Ms. Rupert, who could not get pregnant and adopted a child this year. "I have friends who are so desperate they will try anything."

It's not uncommon for the frozen embryo of one couple to be given to another, but it is almost always done anonymously through the fertility clinic.

The embryos would not interest couples with a healthy egg or sperm of their own that could be used in an implant.

But in about 40 percent of couples, both the man and the woman have problems that prevent conception. Those couples might want to implant someone else's embryos in the woman so she could deliver the child, said Dr. Minna Selub, a fertility specialist at the University of Miami.

Legally, the embryo donation is a gift and not an adoption, attorney Danciu said. Even so, Donna and Ron have signed papers waiving all claims to any child from their embryos. They do not insist upon meeting the couple or seeing their flesh and blood resulting from the embryos, Donna said.

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