Busting Myths about Embryo Adoption

Below is a list of myths people commonly hold about the process of embryo donation and adoption. Are they true or is it just a rumor? Find out as we explore four commonly held myths.

Myth- Embryo donation and adoption should really just be called Embryo Donation because it is not truly an adoption.

Busted!- Many adoption agencies find that placing or donating parents tend to use the term 'donation', while receiving or adopting couples tend to use the term 'adoption'. The basis for this is largely psychological. Donation is used in the sense of 'giving a gift' and offers an emotional separation from the embryos that the phrase 'placing for adoption' does not. Yet for the family wanting to parent the children born from such a gift, the term 'adoption' makes more emotional sense. It is the term that both legally and socially explains the transfer of parental rights associated with traditional adoption. ‘Adoption’ also helps to describe and explain to their child the way in which they became a family, since children are 'adopted' rather than 'donated'. Frequently the terms are used interchangeably like the words lawyer and attorney.

Furthermore the successful end result of an embryo donation is the birth of a child. This child is not genetically related to her parents and is now a member of their family. This is generally understood to be an adoption throughout the world.

Myth- Embryo donation and adoption is just as expensive as other forms of adoption.

Busted! Embryo adoption is a low-cost family building alternative when compared to domestic and international adoption, repeated IVF cycles and the cost of donor eggs. The embryo donor does not receive payment for their embryos. The most exciting aspect of embryo adoption is that you have the opportunity to give birth to your adopted child! On average an embryo adoption will cost between $10,000-$15,000.

In the United States the adoption of children in the foster care system is generally the least expensive form of adoption but it is more difficult to adopt infants in this program.

Myth- Embryo Donation and Adoption could lead to an “Octomom” situation.

Busted! While embryo donation has resulted in parents giving birth to twins and even triplets in the past, best practices are in place to limit the risk of multiple-birth pregnancies.

Adopting families should limit the number of embryos transferred to the number that they are willing to carry to term in the event that all the embryos implant. Due to the high-risk nature of a multiple pregnancy, most doctors recommend limiting the number of embryos transferred to no more than three embryos at a time. Adopting families should discuss this with their doctor prior to their scheduled embryo transfer. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) also provides members with transfer guidelines based on the woman's age.

Myth- Donor Parents can regain custody of children born from the embryos they donated to an adoptive family.

Busted- Before the adopting family takes possession of the donated embryos, legal documents are signed in which the donor parents relinquish their parental rights. This occurs before the embryos are transferred into the adoption mother’s womb.

At the time of birth the adoptive couple is fully recognized as the legal parents to any children who are born. The mother who physically gives birth is recognized as the legal mother and the man to whom she is married at the time of pregnancy and birth is recognized as the legal father of the child(ren). These individuals are noted as the legal mother and legal father on the birth certificate(s).

Furthermore, some couples will finalize their embryo adoption in a local court as is done in a domestic or international adoption. In Georgia the option to finalize an embryo adoption in court was passed by the state legislature in May 2009.

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