Q: What roles may an adoption agency fulfill in the embryo adoption/donation process?
A: Phase One: The process starts usually with an initial inquiry from a family either desiring to place their embryos for adoption or to adopt embryos.
Staff should generally be in place that can answer the resulting questions and prepare and mail program information packets and applications. When applications are received, they should be reviewed and approved by an assigned adoption social worker who reads the home assessment (in the case of an adoptive family), interviews the client to discuss matching criteria and address and resolve any issues concerning the placement or adoption of the embryo(s) prior to the family being approved for participation in the program.
Phase Two: Both the donating and adopting families establish their criteria for a successful match which will lead to an embryo placement and adoption. A matching process initiates.
Once a successful match has been made, each set of parent’s drafts and signs contracts; embryos are shipped to the adopting family's clinic, and the adopting family is then able to schedule their frozen embryo transfer (FET). Depending on the form and frequency of any on-going contact between the families, an agency or attorney may need to continue to act as intermediary for such contact. There is also the possibility that additional matches and contracts will need to be performed if an adopting family does not use all of the donating family's embryos.
Q: What are the advantages of participating in an adoptive home study assessment?
A: The importance of the home study lies in its purpose to help couples have not only healthy children, but healthy families.
An adoptive home study for the recipient couple 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 to whom they are not genetically related, they will have the same types of questions as those of children adopted through traditional means. 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 in the best way to address and answer these questions with sensitivity to the needs of the child.
Since the home study process provides the donating parents with assurance about their embryos' prospective parents, they are also benefited. This assurance includes:
- the adopting family has been evaluated for any health issues that may affect their ability to care for and raise a child,
- has been screened for any criminal and child abuse issues,
- has been educated concerning the potential issues of parenting a non-genetically related child
Q: At what point is an embryo adoption considered finalized?
A: Although there is little or no precedence on this issue, the language of the written agreement affecting the transfer of ownership in the embryos may specify that the adoption is deemed to have occurred at the point of thawing and implantation of the embryos into the adoptive mother's womb.
Visit www.EmbryoAdoption.org for more information.
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