Anyone that has been through the trial of infertility know just how difficult it is. Each step is agonizing. What steps do you take? Should you wait? Is adoption the path we should choose? Is it time to see an RE? Which RE should we see? Is IVF right for us? How many embryos should we transfer? Every question we ask revolves around bringing a healthy baby home. Too often we do not put a lot of thought into what will happen if there are embryos that we are unable to use. Yes, we understand that the possibility is there, but it is not the main focus when in the midst of fertility treatments. But when everything is over and the dust clears we are forced to face the decision of what to do with the remaining little embryos.
There are a few options available to couples faced with this dilemma. You can discard them, donate them to research, leave them frozen until you pass away and let someone else handle it, or donate them to another couple. Most people know about all of these option except for the option to donate them. I have not been through IVF and have not been faced with this decision. However, I am the recipient of donated embryos and wanted to help spread the word to those that may be considering their options.
What to do with your embryos is not an easy decision for most and definitely not one to be taken lightly. Each couple will need to do what is best and right for them and their family. But during this time please take a moment to consider donating your embryos to couple that would otherwise never have the chance to have a child. There are several ways in which to donate:
*Anonymously through your clinic. Some clinics have programs that will accept your embryos and allow another patient use them. You will not receive any information about the recipients nor have any contact with them. This option is good for couples that would prefer not to know what happens or if there are any children that result from the procedure.
*Find a couple yourself through Miracle's Waiting. This site is matching site where placing and recipient couples can find each other. All legal contracts and transferring of ownership are done by the two families. Some people also look to blogs, message boards and other forums featuring embryo adoption or donation and will find a recipient that way. You can choose that the recipients complete background check and provide references or even have a current home study, though this is not as common. People looking to find embryos through MW or forums are usually hoping to keep costs down as it is much less expensive than using the agencies that find a match for you.
*Embryo Adoption. Snowflakes, the NEDC and Cedar Park are organizations that will allow you to be matched with couples looking to "adopt" embryos. Adoptive families undergo a home study and you can choose an open, semi-open or closed situation. All embryos will be shipped to the recipient family's clinic (unless you request they travel to your clinic) except with the NEDC as they do the transfers at their clinic.
*Embryos Alive will find a recipient family for your embryos. Recipient couples must do a home study or a dossier before being chosen.
There are more clinics and programs out there but these are some of the more popular ones available and a good place to start when looking for information on donating your embryos. If you are reading this then you are most likely considering this option and I want to thank you for that regardless of what decision you make. I have an amazing (almost) 2 year old that was from an anonymous donation through our clinic. She is amazing and I cannot imagine life without her. To the right of my blog are a list of blogs that pertain to embryo donation/adoption. Feel free to read them and learn more about couples that grown their family through the selfless donation of other couples.