Although embryo donation has been around for over two decades, very few couples know of this wonderful option to grow a family. The very first child born through embryo donation has recently turned 21 years of age. Couples who undergo IVF often hope to have at least one good embryo at the end of the cycle. Very few thinks about a scenario when they would have too many to use for their own reproductive purposes. The decision of what to do with remaining embryo is a difficult one. The options usually are to thaw and discard embryos or to donate them to research, which also involves discarding embryos. Families are often not informed that they can donate their embryos to other couples who struggle to conceive. In this case, they would bring happiness to someone’s life by giving the ultimate gift and give their embryos a chance to become children.
Take a closer look into Embryo Donation and adoption procedures to make an informed choice.
Inside an adoption agency
There are 3 parties in the embryo donation process: donors, recipients, and fertility clinics. Donors contact an embryo adoption agency and schedule a phone call or a zoom meeting. Then they fill out a few questionnaires where they share information about their embryos (number of embryos they wish to donate, when they were created, grade of the embryos, etc.), their family medical history, their preferences for who will receive their embryos.Once a match is found, donors would need to go through an FDA-required blood testing (free of charge). They will sign a Donation agreement and the embryos will be shipped to the recipients’ fertility clinic.
Recipients also would undergo background screening, including criminal background check, financial check, and an hour with a psychotherapist to assess their readiness for the donation. It is free to donate embryos.
Relationship with recipients
Donors will have an opportunity to choose the extend and frequency of contact with recipients. The options are closed donation, semi-open, and open donation. In closed donation, no identifiable information is shared, the recipients will not know the state donors live in, their phone numbers, names, or email addresses. The donors will be notified is a child is born from embryos they donated. No more information will be shared going forward. In semi-open donation, no identifiable information is shared as well. The donors and recipients communicate through a third party, an adoption agency. Usually, donors receive one email per year with an update on how the child is growing and sometimes phots of the child. In semi-open adoption, recipients will have an opportunity to reach out to donors if there is a medical emergency and a genetic donor is required. Lastly, there is an open donation. In open donation, donors and adoptive couples exchange contact information and communicate directly with each other. They might decide to meet and have genetic siblings have some type of relationship. In some cases, couples go on vacation together and perceive each other as extended family (aunts, uncles, and cousins). The choice is yours!