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Where to Go for Embryo Donation

If you are interested in donating your embryos or having donor embryos transferred, there are several places you can get started.

Embryo Donation through a Fertility Clinic

Many fertility clinics offer embryo donation as an option. Infertility patients who have gone through in vitro fertilization and have "extra" embryos are given the opportunity to anonymously donate their frozen embryos to couples who have made the decision to use donated embryos.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Reproduction's 2010 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report, 69 percent of the 443 total reporting fertility clinics offer embryo donation as a service.

Embryo Donation through an Agency

There are also many embryo adoption programs that operate similar to traditional adoption programs in which genetic parents entering the program may select the recipients of their embryos from the agency's pool of prescreened applicants. The donors may be notified when a successful pregnancy is achieved or a child is born. Prospective parents entering into this kind of a program may be required to complete an application, have a traditional adoption home study, adoption education, and sometimes court certification of adoption eligibility. The prospective parents have the opportunity to approve the match, and once the two parties agree, the frozen embryo is transferred to the prospective parent's fertility clinic for an embryo transfer.

There are several embryo donation organizations that serve donors and recipients nationally, including:

  • National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC)
  • Snowflakes Embryo Adoption – Nightlight Christian Adoptions
  • National Fertility Support Center
  • Crystal Angels
  • Embryo Adoption Services of Cedar Park
  • Embryos Alive
  • Adoption and Fertility Resources

NEDC is the only fertility clinic-based, non-profit, national embryo donation entity in the United States.

It is important to note that none of the procedures involved with embryo adoption by either the genetic or adopting parents are legal requirements of embryo transfer. In fact, the ethics committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) issued a report strongly objecting to the term embryo “adoption” as inaccurate and misleading. The committee said:

    Embryos are deserving of special respect, but they are not afforded the same status as persons. Adoption refers to a specific legal procedure that establishes or transfers parentage of existing children. Application of the term ‘‘adoption’’ to embryos is inaccurate, misleading, and could place burdens that are not appropriate for embryos that have been donated upon infertile recipients.

In addition, ASRM says the donation of embryos for reproductive purposes is "fundamentally a medical procedure intended to result in pregnancy and should be treated as such."


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