A Texas couple experienced an amazing moment when they were given the opportunity to meet the children who were born from their donated frozen embryos 20 years ago.
Brooke and Chris Martin explained their story in an exclusive interview with Fox 26 Houston on Wednesday.
Brooke said she and Chris faced infertility struggles in her late 20s and eventually resorted to in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. The couple, who lived in Tennessee at the time, went to a fertility clinic in Nashville to start the process.
The Martins ended up with two implanted embryos, and their twin boys Matthew and Christopher were later born.
They still had eight frozen embryos remaining and had to decide what to do: use them, let them thaw out, donate them to science or give them back to the fertility clinic.
The couple chose the latter option because that's what they believed was right, Brooke told Fox 26.
"We always had faith that when we donated, that they would be taken care of. The couple would have to go through the same thing that we did, which was agonizing. I mean, people don't realize all that couples go through while dealing with this," Chris explained to the Texas outlet.
Fast-forward almost 20 years later and the Martins were told by a family member that a boy, who could be their son, found them and reached out.
Thomas Monroe reportedly called the family member and said something along the lines of "Hey, I'm on your family tree. I don't know if you know anybody in your family who donated embryos or just gave away some kids," according to Fox 26.
That person told Monroe he "might know someone" and then contacted the Martins, who immediately looked Thomas up on social media.
"I saw his picture and my husband and I burst into tears and said that's our kid. There's no doubt, he looked just like our boys," Brooke said.
This is when the Martins found out Thomas is a triplet, which meant they had three biological children out in the world two decades after deciding to donate their embryos.
The now 18-year-old triplets, two boys and a girl, grew up in Nashville with their loving parents Trey and Becky, who told the kids about the embryo adoption when they were younger.
After losing Becky to cancer, Trey decided to fulfill Thomas's wishes for a DNA test and gifted it to him on his 18th birthday.
"I had a little trepidation, but I also had a history of having found my own biological family through DNA testing and that has been nothing but wonderful, so I knew it could work very well," Trey told Fox 26. "With a lot of prayer and just attention to little things, that gave me some peace."
Like Trey and Becky, Brooke and Chris told their boys about the embryos when they were younger, so they were aware a situation like this could be possible.
Christopher Martin, one of Brooke and Chris's twin boys, said it was still shocking to learn of their new siblings, but it wasn't as detrimental as it has been for other people because they knew there was a chance this could happen.
Lauren Monroe, the girl triplet, said the embryo donation from Brooke and Chris was powerful and referred to it as a "group effort."
"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be here. It's a group effort, of course! My mom had us and carried us but from the beginning, and it was them who blessed us, so I think in the end it helped us, and I really do think it was sent by my mom (Becky)," Lauren said.
Brooke said even though the children all grew up separately, there are similarities between all five of them, from music interest to athletics to having similar posture when walking.
Chris told the Texas news outlet he is so happy to see his prayers over the embryo donation come true.
"We realize that DNA/genetics go into this whole picture, but there's still a lot of nurturing involved. All these kids, now young adults, are exceptional children to us, and exceptional adults to the world, so we just are very thankful for that! They had a couple of parents doing the nurturing to make it happen, so kudos to Becky and Trey. We continue to pray and hope that they continue to grow and do well."
Brooke added that she wants to make sure people are aware of the option to adopt embryos:
"Now, you can actually go through an official adoption where you can choose the family that adopts the embryos and goes through in vitro, so it's a lot more technological now. If you go through an open situation, then you get to stay in touch with the family and the child based on your own decisions. When we did it, that was an option."
Peter Monroe, the final triplet, said Brooke and Chris have turned out to be "really good people" and he's happy the families have found each other.
The Martins have a Facebook page where those interested can keep up with their story. Visit them at Our Love Multiplied here.