Egg Donation :)
• What Is Embryo Donation?
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Assisted Reproductive Technology
|What Is Embryo Donation?
It is where one couple donates their embryos to another infertile couple. Usually the donating couple has produced more embryos than they need through IVF treatment and have no further plans for them. Any baby that results from embryo donation is considered the child of the woman who carries and gives birth to it - and not the child of the donating couple. It is the same principle followed in sperm donation and egg donation. Embryo donation is essentially the same as adopting a child because the child is not genetically related to the new parents. However the major difference is that those parents get to experience the pregnancy; they are identified as the parents on the birth certificate and no one need ever know that a donated embryo was used.
It is estimated that over 600,000 embryos are currently in cryopreservation (techie term for being frozen) in the U.S. Many of these embryos are left over from fertility treatments and are no longer necessary because the genetic parents have decided their family is complete. But then, these couples are left with a dilemma. Should they let the embryos thaw and die, or should they donate them to embryo research or donate them to a couple who want them? Some choose embryo donation believing it a more compassionate way to deal with the unborn. Couples who choose to donate are not usually paid for their service, nor however do they incur any fees for arranging the donation. The adopting parents cover all costs.
Who Offers Embryo Donation?
The fertility clinic where you underwent treatment may offer the service. If not, contact a not-for-profit broker such as the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC), who can coordinate the whole procedure for you. You will be asked to fill out a form and provide some medical and genetic history. You will be screened for a series of infectious diseases to rule out possible diseases in your embryos. If you are not available for screening your embryos will be labeled unscreened and the recipients must agree to accept the risks associated with this. At the same time you must decide what degree of contact, if any, you wish to have with the adopting family. You can choose the family your embryos go to based on open information, or donate anonymously. You will sign some documents relinquishing all your rights to the adopting family. Once the paperwork is in order the donation center will contact your fertility clinic and arrange to have the embryos shipped.
NEDC Criteria For Adoption
The NEDC work hard to ensure donor embryos go to a good home. The adopting mother should be healthy and able to carry a child, and the couple should demonstrate commitment to each other by being married. Other criteria:
• Couple should be married at least 3 years.
One American study showed that donor embryos are a much cheaper way of conceiving a healthy baby than egg donation. The average cost of a live birth by embryo donation is $22,000 compared to $41,000 for egg donation. Note: Usually it takes more than one IVF cycle to become pregnant, either with egg or embryo donation. Thus the key figure is not how much an IVF cycle costs, but how much it costs to achieve an actual live-birth.
According to the CDC, the overall live birth rate resulting from an embryo donation is 35 percent. The NEDC's live-birth rate is 50 percent. Not all embryos survive the thawing process, and not all thawed embryos are successfully transferred. However, for many women, it is still their greatest hope of experiencing a pregnancy.
Between 2 and 4 embryos are thawed for each IVF cycle. All of those thawed are implanted. As with any IVF protocol, there is some risk of having twins - although many consider this an advantage. What if you don't fall pregnant? Some embryo donation programs restrict the amount of transfers you can have. The NEDC limits couples to 3 attempts.
Currently the law states that adoption only covers the placement of a child after birth. For this reason, legal agreements instead of adoption agreements are used to cover donor embryos. While these agreements are considered binding, they do not not rule out possible legal complications down the road. While no cases have yet been filed by biological parents looking for their child back after birth, it doesn't mean it couldn't happen in the future (despite all the legal agreements). Or what if the resulting child is born with a birth defect? The potential for a lawsuit is great, which is why many fertility clinics shy away from offering the service.
The following non-profit organizations currently provide embryo adoption services in the United States:
National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC)
Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program
Crystal Angels Embryo Adoption Services
Embryo Adoption Services of Cedar Park
National Fertility Support Center
Adoption and Fertility Resources
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