Embryo Adoption Questions Answered - What is an Embryo Adoption Home Study?

This week’s topic: Embryo Adoption Home Studies

Q: Why should a home study be required during the process of Embryo Donation and Adoption?

A:  The importance of the home study is to help couples not only have healthy children, but healthy families.

An adoptive home study for the recipients of donated embryos ensures that the safeguards currently in place for traditional adoption also protect the child, the placing parents and the receiving parents in an embryo adoption situation.

Despite the fact that the adoptive mother gives physical birth to a child from an embryo donation, that child is still an adopted child; he or she shares no genetic relation to the adoptive mother or father. When children are born into a family whom they are not genetically related, they may have the same types of questions as those children adopted through traditional means.

‘Embryo adoption’ programs treat the process as just that – an adoption. This means the same protections and guidelines set in place for traditional adoption – home studies, legal contracts, post-adoption support and education – are applied to the embryo recipient/adopter.  This process also protects the donor. It provides information about the family receiving their embryos and allows both couples to have input regarding how much communication there will be between the families following the exchange of the embryos.

Q: What does the home study process consist of?

A: The home study process is 20% screening and 80% education. It provides the adoptive family with an opportunity to learn about and anticipate these types of issues and questions. The home study also educates the parents of the best way to address and even answer these questions with sensitivity to the needs of the child.

The home study process benefits donating parents by assuring them that the adopting family was:

evaluated for any health issues that may affect their ability to care for and raise a child.
screened for any criminal and child abuse issues
educated concerning the potential issues of parenting a non-genetically related child

Q: How can an adopting family find a local agency to conduct their home study?

For most embryo adoption programs, a traditional domestic home study is all that is required. It is best to find a private licensed adoption agency to work with because most state agencies or social services departments do not perform pre-placement home studies, and the ones who do most often will not provide a copy to an outside agency. You can find a list of agencies in your area on the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center website.

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