Our journey through infertility, failed adoptions and now parenthood through the miracle of embryo adoption/donation.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The How and Why of Embryo Adoption

I have been asked on several occasions about our EA journey and have responded individually to each one. Instead of continuing to do that I am going to post it here for everyone. Though EA has been around for years many people are unfamiliar with the process. First I will discuss the options available and then explain how we arrived where we are today. My research was done over a year ago so some it may have changed (prices at clinics, wait times, etc).


Donor couple: can choose an open or closed donation. (open-they can know the recipient family and have contact, see photos, etc/closed-little or no info).

Recipient couple: must have home study, can choose open or closed depending on what type of relationship that they want to have with the donor family.

The NEDC does that actual FET there. Couple have to travel to them 2 times, one for a consult, one for the actual FET.

Same as above except the embryos are shipped to the clinic of your choosing for the FET.

Miracle's Waiting:
MW is unique in that it is just a way for donor and recipient couples to meet. You each can post a profile and if you find one that interests you, you send an email and take it from there. If a "match" is made (both couples agree) then a legal document is made for the "transfer of property" and the embryos are shipped to the recipient's clinic. MW is popular for several reasons: usually a shorter wait time, donor and recipients can develop a relationship before decision is made, much less expensive. The negative is that you do the leg work yourself and do not have a facilitator.

There are a few other places that act as a facilitator between donor and recipient couples. Embryo's Alive and Adoption From The Heart are two of them. They require home studies and offer open and closed donations/adoptions.

The last option is going through your local clinic which only provide anonymous donations and the information offered to donor families is nothing and varies for recipient families. My clinic gave us a complete health history as well as a description of the donor couple, though no identifying information of the donor couple. Some clinics only tell you the hair and eye color of the donor couple.

We took time to look into each option and originally chose the Miracle's Waiting route. We really wanted a relationship with the donor family and MW was the most affordable way to do this. There is no cost to the donor family on any of these options, but they vary greatly for the recipients. The NEDC starts at $8000 plus $2500 for the home study. The cost is higher if you want an open donation. Snowflakes is similar in costs, though it can be less expensive depending on your clinic fees for the FET. MW is the cost of the FET (varies by clinic) and meds and shipping of embryos and any legal fees. The shipping is about $300 and legal fees $200. For us it would have totaled $4500, much less than the NEDC. We joined MW and while waiting for a match I scheduled consultations with the two local clinics that would use donated embryos. During one of the consultations the RE told me that they had available embryos if we wanted to use them and we prayed about it and decided to go this route. It was $4000 and the wait was about 1 month. I would have preferred to have a relationship with my child's biological family, but felt that God had opened this door and He wanted us to give these embryos a chance at life. The couple had 6 embryos and 2 were thawed for our FET. Sadly, one did not survive the thaw so another one was thawed. These two were transferred and one is now our little bambino!

I hope that this helps some of you understand it better as well as help you to make a decision in your own journey. If anyone has any questions please feel free to ask!


  1. Hi Jess,

    Thank-you so much for giving me the information. God has really been working on my heart. I feel like I may have found the right couple to adopt our embryos. I have not let them know how I feel yet because I do not want to get their hopes up until I am sure. I do not want to hurt them if I am not able to let go yet. Please keep me in your prayers. I have started my blog, but with 6 month old twins it is hard to find time to sit down and write anything with a lot of thought. I hope you and baby are well. I will be following you on your blog :-) I can't wait to find out what you are having. http://myjourniesinmotherhood.blogspot.com/

  2. The NEDC actually does not charge more for open adoptions any more (a recent change). So the estimate of around $8000 is for everyone, no additional charges for openness.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to share all of this valuable information! It's good to know there are such great options out there!

  4. Congratulations-
    on your precious embryo adopted baby-
    You mentioned Embryos Alive www.EmbryosAlive.com and thought it was good to note that Embryos Alive gives the option of a homestudy or dossier- which saves alot of time and money- oh
    and you can choose the type of relationship with the adopters as well-

  5. wonderfully informative post! i think embryo adoption is great!

  6. hope you don't mind that I linked to your post on my blog.

  7. Hey-
    Just to let you know... we are only paying around $4500 to the NEDC. We paid $1500 to Bethany for the homestudy (plus $50 for mileage) but they have recently changed their policies so that it is an extra $3000 for open or closed adoptions.

  8. I have just found out that my husband has very poor sperm. I was on babycenter and I found one of your posts. I am a christian also and I know that God has a plan for us to have children. I have never heard of embryo adoption before. I would love more info. Thank you for posting your experience.


  9. Elise, feel free to PAN me on Baby Center or email me at jcmulroney@aol.com with any questions that you have.

  10. Jess...
    Thank you SO much for sending me this link, we had heard of the first two, but not MW...I'm going to look into this as this seems like a much better option for us! We're planning to meet with our RE on the 19th to discuss our options so we'll see what she says & if they have embryo adoption locally as well. Thank you again so much...I may message you later if I have more questions, I appreciate your openness & help so much!

  11. Great summary! Just wanted to note that you do not have to ship the embryos if you match via Miracles Waiting. We chose to travel to the clinic where they were being stored for transfer. Also, our outside monitoring clinic's EA program lets donors decide if they'd like to have contact with the recipients. Most don't, but a few are open to it, and we were initially matched with such a batch. :)


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