Embryo donation is a relatively new form of assisted reproduction that involves the transfer of unused embryos from one California couple to another who is seeking to have a child. This process is often referred to as embryo adoption, although legally, embryos cannot be “adopted” in the traditional sense of the term.
Embryo donation typically involves couples who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and have surplus embryos that they do not intend to use. These embryos are typically frozen and stored at a fertility clinic or reproductive laboratory.
Why couples choose embryo donation
Embryo donation offers a way for couples who are unable to conceive naturally or through other forms of assisted reproduction, such as IVF, to have a child. Couples who receive donated embryos can carry and give birth to a child that is genetically related to the donor couple. The process also allows couples to avoid the expense and emotional strain associated with the traditional IVF process.
Embryo donation begins with the donor couple undergoing an evaluation to determine if they are medically suitable to donate embryos. This evaluation includes a medical history, physical examination and laboratory testing. The donor couple must also undergo counseling to discuss the emotional and ethical implications of donating an embryo.
Once the embryo donors are approved, their embryos are thawed and transferred to the recipient couple’s uterus. The recipient woman typically undergoes hormone therapy to prepare her uterus for the transfer, and the embryos are transferred using a catheter inserted through the cervix.
Embryo donation can be anonymous, with no identifying information exchanged between the donor and recipient couples, or it can be open, with the two parties sharing identifying information and potentially maintaining contact. Many fertility clinics and reproductive laboratories that offer embryo donation require that the parties involved sign legal agreements outlining the terms of the donation and any potential contact between the donor and recipient couples.
Choosing embryo donation
Embryo donation has been controversial in some circles due to ethical concerns related to the disposition of embryos and questions about the rights of donor and recipient couples. However, for many couples, it offers a compassionate solution to the issue of surplus embryos created during IVF treatment.