There is a difference between embryo donation and embryo adoption. People tend to think you can use the terms interchangeably, or that the term donation is the only “right” way to describe the process. However, there are notable differences in the way embryo donation and embryo adoption programs are managed.
Embryo donation programs are most often a part of a fertility clinic, or the organization is affiliated with a specific clinic. Embryo donation programs provide potential embryo recipients information on the embryos as well as the medical information about the donor. However, due to the anonymous nature of clinic donation programs, the information is limited. There is usually no way to receive more information from the clinic or donor after the embryos are received and a baby is born. But there are resources families can use to find out more information related to potential half-siblings or other genetic information. You can view our list of embryo donation programs by state here.
Embryo adoption is completed through an adoption agency (or an organization choosing to follow an adoption model) and is comparable to a traditional adoption process. Embryo adoption programs will allow both donors and adopters to share as much information as they would like with each other. Thus, matches are typically mutually agreed upon by the adopting and placing families. They also provide safe guards to protect all parties involved. These programs tend to be more child-centric in their processes, as well as providing resources and guidance as the families make their way through the programs. You can view our list of embryo adoption programs here.
To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.