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What? I Might Have Remaining Embryos after IVF?

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A blog by Embryo Adoption Awareness Center, June 30, 2015
You’re on a mission, and it’s one that you’re not likely to stop pursuing. You want children of your own, and there’s nothing that will stand in your way. In vitro fertilization may be one option you decide to use.

Sometimes couples rush into the decision to try IVF, heads-down, ‘gonna have a baby’. But did you know that frequently people who use IVF will end up having more embryos created than they end up using? There are now over 600,000 embryos in frozen storage in the U.S. – many of them are languishing in frozen storage, waiting for the parents to make a decision about what to do with them.

Right now it is likely unimaginable to think you will have remaining embryos – you are simply focused on having a baby of your own!

You may have more embryos created than you end up using. A few years down the road (and a few children later), you decide that your family is complete. But what happens to your remaining frozen embryos?

You’ll have to make a decision. There are several options available:

  • Storage – the option that many couples go with is continuing to store their embryos. You know where they are and that they’re always there if you decide to add more children to your family. But you will have to continue to pay an annual storage fee which averages $600.00.
  • Donate to research – researchers use embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) to seek cures and treatments for a wide range of diseases. Donating your embryos may bring improvements to the IVF process, or even find a cure for a disease, but the embryos will be destroyed in the process.
  • Thaw and discard – unused embryos are cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen at -196°C. This option offers quick and simple closure – embryos are removed from the liquid nitrogen and thawed at room temperature, which takes less than one minute.
  • Donate to another couple – by donating your embryos to another couple through embryo donation and adoption, you’re giving both the adopter and your embryos the gift of life – the opportunity to experience the joy that you experienced when you were successful with IVF.

There is an option however that allows you to achieve pregnancy without IVF – its embryo adoption. Embryo adoption is a low-cost option to IVF and rather than making more embryos, you give life to embryos that another family is offering to you as a gift. This is a great choice, especially if your doctor is suggesting you purchase human eggs to create embryos for your IVF.


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