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Distraught Husband Doesn't Know What to Do With Embryos After Wife's Sudden Death

Photograph by tuaindeed/iStock.com

A grieving man is left stunned and unsure of himself after his wife's sudden death left him not only blaming himself, but also with a horrible decision that he never saw coming.

According to the anonymous husband, he and his wife were trying to have kids before her tragic death. Unfortunately, they were struggling, which prompted a massive fight before she took her life. Since she passed, he's dealing with the fact that he's the only one who knows they had embryos fertilized—and now that she's gone, he has no idea what to do with them.

The man explained that he's been paralyzed with indecision about the embryos she left behind.

Photograph by Slate

In a letter to Slate's Dear Prudence, the anonymous husband shared that he still feels guilty about not answering the phone during a fight on the night that his wife committed suicide. "My wife was suffering serious depression at the time and our marriage was struggling (we were in serious debt over the fertility treatments). We had a fight and I left," he wrote. "I went to a hotel and turned off my phone. She killed herself. She called me several times but never left a message. I am haunted by those missed messages."

Over the last two years since her death, the man has been paying to keep the embryos they had fertilized frozen, but he's no closer to making a decision on what to do with them and doesn't want to tell her family.

"I am paralyzed about what to do with them. I don’t want to be a father now, but I don’t want to destroy the last bit of my wife left on earth, and I don’t know what to tell my in-laws," he wrote. "Giving them the embryos feels like passing the buck: 'Here, take on the expense of surrogacy and raising a baby in your 60s.' Blind donation feels cruel; my in-laws deserve to know they have a grandchild in the world. I want to move on. I want to start over."

So, now, he's asking for help. Should he give the embryos to her parents? Or secretly donate them and let another family put them to good use?

In the end, Prudence advises the man should work through his guilt in therapy, while not allowing the embryos to dictate his life.

Photograph by Slate

It might be better to think through what happened with a therapist and then make a choice, the advice columnist told him. "It will also, I think, be helpful to deal with some of the guilt you feel over missing these messages before deciding on a course of action," the columnist advised. "The double burden of feeling responsible for not knowing what she was about to do coupled with the thought that these embryos are the last remains of your wife on earth is too much for any one person to carry alone."

This posts was originally published on Mom.me sister site CafeMom.

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