Having trouble conceiving is a heartbreaking experience, and one man is worried he's being selfish for not giving his ex-sister-in-law his embryos so she can have a child.
Writing to The Slate, the man explained that him and his ex-wife had multiple embryos made because she had ovarian cancer. They conceived using IVF but their marriage sadly broke up a year after their son was born.
"The embryos are currently on ice, and legally we both have to consent to their use," he explained. "I pay for the storage. It was too painful a topic to talk about during the divorce, and neither one of us wanted to speak about the potential children we could have had."
Tragically, his ex's sister lost her husband in a car accident last year.
"The sister was injured so badly she had to have a hysterectomy," he said. "I would have done anything to help, but the sister is now fixated on our embryos as her only solution to have a child."
The man admitted he doesn't want any more children with his ex-wife. Photo: Getty Images
"She wants to hire a surrogate and have us donate the embryos to her," he continued, saying his ex-wife is "all for it".
"She sees it as a chance to bring light out of darkness and give our 'children' a chance to live," he said desperately. "I just can't agree to this."
The man said that although he loves his son, he doesn't want more children with his ex.
"I also don't want someone else raising my children," he admitted. "I would not be able to cope with this."
The man said he told them no, which subsequently ruined his relationship with his ex.
"Her parents have called me begging me to relent. Her sister has sent me several long-handwritten letters that I refuse to read," he said, saying the situation is impacting his son who is 'confused and sad' because he's overheard remarks about his dad "not letting" his little brothers and sisters be born.
"I cared for my brother-in-law and mourned his loss," he wrote, saying he feels 'tremendous guilt' over the situation.
"My former sister-in-law is a nice woman and doesn't deserve the hand she was dealt. Am I being too selfish?"
The columnist, Danny Lavery responded saying he's not surprised the man feels guilty, although he was right not to ignore his own trepidation over the situation.
"[Guilt] it doesn't negate the importance of joint consent when it comes to the future of the embryos you and your wife stored," he pointed out.
"And it doesn't mean you can simply ignore your feelings about your relationship to whatever children those embryos might produce."
"You've done the right thing, I think," he wrote. "It just doesn't always feel good."