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What Happens To Your Leftover Embryos After Fertility Treatment?

A blog by Dr. John Zhang, New Hope Fertility, October 20, 2015

Frozen embryos are a large part of fertility treatment. Having stored embryos can allow a couple to preserve their fertility or can provide a way to continue fertility treatment without the need for additional egg retrievals. What many couples don’t think about is what to do with frozen embryos should they not be needed in the future. There are a number of options available to couples, including embryo disposal. The right way to take care of your embryos is a personal decision, with no “right” answer.

Embryo Donation
One option for surplus embryos is to donate them to other couples who are trying to conceive. On one hand, donation helps couples who have had struggles similar to your own. On the other hand, some couples may have difficulty knowing that they can potentially have a biological child out there that they do not know about.

Medical Research
A number of advancements in medicine can be directly attributed to research done on embryos. Donating embryos for medical research can potentially result in medical breakthroughs that can be used to help mankind. However, embryos do not survive the medical research process. Some couples will find comfort in knowing their embryos can potentially help others.

Embryo Disposal
Disposal of embryos is one way to address embryos that will not be used. This can be done either by thawing the embryos first or by discarding the frozen embryos as medical waste. It’s normal for couples to struggle with making this choice – especially if a couple has had to work hard to become pregnant.

The decision on what to do with frozen embryos can be extremely difficult and should not be taken lightly. Waiting may be the best way to deal with frozen embryos. Rather than acting before you’re ready, it may make sense to leave the embryos in storage until you feel absolute in your decision.


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