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Agencies Find Adopters for Frozen Embryos

The Columbus Dispatch,  Aug 25, 2010
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The nation's 500,000 frozen embryos face a hotly debated future.

Researchers want them to help cure debilitating diseases, parents wonder whether they should be stored or destroyed, and still others see them as a way for infertile couples to adopt and become pregnant at the same time.

The last path is a little-known but growing option at the heart of a Monday ruling that bars federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. The Obama administration is expected to appeal the order, which was sought by Nightlight Christian Adoptions and others who oppose research that destroys embryos.

Nightlight and a handful of similar agencies — including Cincinnati-based Embryos Alive — match prospective parents with cryogenically frozen embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization procedures.

Websites list dozens of available embryos, along with lab reports and short bios of the sperm dads and egg moms.

"Potential adopters call every day," said Bonnie Bernard, who founded Embryos Alive seven years ago and reported its first successful birth in 2005.

The Cincinnati agency used to complete an embryo adoption once every three months. Now, a match is made every two weeks, "and about once a month we're either getting positive or negative news" about an attempted pregnancy, Bernard said.

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