After years of struggling with infertility, Brooke and Chris Martin knew their family was complete the moment they laid eyes on their twin sons, Matthew and Christopher, on Oct. 18, 2000.
“They were perfect,” Brooke told TODAY Parents.
Since the brothers were conceived with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF), and the Martins knew they were done having children, they had a decision to make. They could give their unused embryos to science, dispose of them, or donate to another couple in need.
They decided to donate.
“We had faith they would be taken care of,” Chris told TODAY. “Infertility is trying and emotional and IVF is trying and emotional. We knew whoever received our embryos was going to love them and take care of them because we went through the same process. We know what it’s like to want children so badly.”
Donors can now select who will receive their embryos, or have an open embryo adoption. But that was not the case when the Martins placed their embryos for adoption more than two decades ago.
Brooke and Chris, who eventually relocated to Texas from Nashville, never stopped thinking about those embryos.
“I went through moments over the years, where I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, you know, maybe we should try and find them,’” Brooke said.
Then, in January 2021, the Martins were contacted by a young man named Thomas Monroe who had gotten a 23andMe DNA test kit from his dad for his 18th birthday.
Brooke and Chris looked up Thomas on Facebook.
“I burst into tears,” Brooke recalled. “He looked just like our boys. I was like, ‘That’s our kid — there’s no doubt.”
Brooke, Chris and Thomas began exchanging emails. There was so much to catch up on. But Thomas waited to share a key detail.
Those embryos that the Martins donated? They resulted in triplets. Thomas and his siblings, Lauren and Peter, were born to Trey and Becky Monroe on Oct. 24, 2002.
Thomas confessed that he held off telling Brooke and Chris about his siblings because he was worried they would “freak out.”
“I started shaking, but in a good way,” Brooke said. “I looked at Chris and I said, ‘We have a daughter. We have a girl.’”
The Martins began corresponding with Thomas’ dad, Trey, who works as psychologist in Nashville. They knew from Thomas that his mom, Becky, had recently passed away from cancer.
“We wanted to let Trey know that we don’t expect anything and we wanted to set boundaries that he was comfortable with,” Brooke said.
“I wanted him to know, ‘Listen, I’m not looking to be their dad, cause they’ve got a dad,’” Chris added.
Trey wrote back, "Thank you for the gift of my children. That's all my wife ever wanted." He then welcomed the Martins into his life with open arms.
The Monroe triplets and Martin twins clicked instantly, and now refer to each other as siblings. There are text chains, phone calls and shared private jokes.
"There was this immediate feeling of familiarity," Thomas said.
In July, the triplets and Trey attended a large Martin family reunion, where they mixed with cousins, aunts and uncles.
“I remember wanting to playfully punch Matthew and Christopher like I would with my regular brothers,” Lauren recalled. “We were raised so similarly, I think that's why.”
She noted that Christopher, like herself, is a singer and they often perform duets together. “We sound the same,” she said. “It’s crazy.”
Lauren believes her mother, who died in 2020, is “smiling down on them from heaven.”
“I’ve grown quite close to Brooke and I know my mom would want that," Lauren said. “She was so grateful for the gift that Brooke and Chris gave her and my dad. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
Both the Martins and the Monroes are sharing their story in hopes that more families will consider donating embryos for adoption.
"I know there are a lot of 'What ifs?'" Brooke said. "But there are some things we're not in control of — God is in control of that. And look what he did."