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Families united by shared embryo

Mother's Day is this Sunday. The usual gifts are flowers or candy, but what about a gift of an embryo?

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) -- Mother's Day is this Sunday. The usual gifts are flowers or candy, but what about a gift of an embryo?

13News Now first introduced you to the former Virginia Beach residents Rebecca and Chris Henderson in 2015 when and her husband used In Vitro Fertilization.

The Virginia Beach-based New Hope Center for Reproductive Medicine retrieved thirteen embryos from Rebecca.

Two were transferred into Rebecca's uterus resulting in twins. Then two more were donated to Dan and Kelli Gassman. The Hendersons from Virginia and the Gassman's from Oregon behave like one family.

They've connected through the birth of their kid's, all thanks to an embryo adoption program.

After years of thought, Rebecca and Chris Henderson gifted their remaining embryos to the Gassmans.

"Let's give them a chance at life and hope for the best,” said Rebecca

The Gassman's now have two kids, thanks to the Hendersons.

For both families, open adoption was their top choice. That means both families agree to be involved in each other's and their kids’ lives.

"We wanted to have some say some idea of who those embryos went to, what happened to them,” said Rebecca.

"It's in the best interest of the kiddo's to know where they came from who do they look like,” said Kelli.

New Hope Center's Doctor, Robin Poe- Zeigler, said many couples struggle to decide what to do with remaining embryos used for In-Vitro.

"This couple embodies everything about what embryo adoption is,” said Poe- Zeigler.

She said clinical freezers stay filled with un-used embryos "Hundreds of thousands if you look across the world."

To these families, the donated and adopted embryos mean siblings for their kids and expanding the family's love.

"You are here because this family loved you and wanted you to have a chance at life,” said Dan Gassman.

Creating a closeness that living cross country can't come between.

Doctor Poe-Zeigler said there were close to 3 couples sharing Rebecca's embryos.

The remaining 5 went to a couple from Texas looking to have a baby, however, a baby didn't result for them.

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