In a recent Facebook message to the EAAC, a friend wanted to know about donating remaining embryos. The egg ‘donor’ they had chosen had a history of producing large quantities of eggs during the retrieval process (upwards of 40 eggs!). Because there potentially could be a large number of remaining embryos the writer was considering their disposition before the eggs were fertilized.
Below are four things couples should consider before using donor eggs to create embryos.
1.) Does your egg donor agreement stipulate that you can determine the disposition options for any remaining embryos created from her egg donation? You will want to be able to control what happens to any remaining embryos. Some egg donor agreements stipulate that embryos created from the donor’s eggs can only be used by you and any other uses must be approved by the donor.
2.) Some clinics offer human egg (oocyte) freezing. You may want to talk with your clinic about this possibility. Then you could create embryos as you need them. Egg freezing is not a perfected process, but some clinics have been successful with the process.
3.) Determining to create only the number of embryos you think you will use will potentially eliminate the need for you to make the difficult decision about what to do with any remaining embryos. Remember, remaining embryos will be genetic siblings to any children to whom you give birth.
How many embryos do you think you need for the number of IVF cycles you plan to complete? On your fresh cycle (the embryos have not yet been frozen) you will only need 2-3 maximum based on the recommendations of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
The remainder will be frozen for future pregnancy attempts by you. Each time embryos are thawed, again you only need 2-3 to survive the thaw for the embryo transfer into your womb. If you are working with an outstanding clinic, their success rate for embryos surviving the thaw will be high (70-80%), otherwise the average successful thaw rate hovers around 50%.
4.) Clinics should be very familiar with the tests that the FDA requires in order to donate remaining embryos to another family. They should be advising you BEFORE your embryos are created about all of the options available to you for remaining embryos AND ensuring that all of these options remain available to you by performing the appropriate and required testing.
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