For many parts of the world, adopting a child has been legal for less than 100 years. Even in the United States, modern adoption laws didn’t appear on the books until the passage of the Adoption of Children Act in Massachusetts in 1851. Adoption law was slow to develop in the rest of the world, too, with Great Britain formally legalizing adoption nearly 75 years later in 1926. Today, embryo adoption is seeing a similar struggle for the law to catch up with the times. The use of remaining embryos by fertility clinics to help patients achieve pregnancy has been happening for nearly 30 years. There are still no laws formally governing the process.
Because the law doesn’t acknowledge an embryo as human, the process of donating embryos to a recipient family is legally managed using property law rather than adoption law. This allows one family to donate their remaining embryos to another family while protecting all parties involved with a legal contract. While perhaps not ideal, the system is legal, and it allows the embryo donation process to take place within the legal system and the embryos to be adopted and given a chance at life.
If you would like to learn more about the legality of embryo adoption, the legal status of embryos in the United States, and how many organizations are helping fertility clinics navigate FDA requirements, view free webinar on the topic and get answers to your legal questions from a qualified expert.
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