In 2010, a survey of more than 1,000 IVF patients who had extra embryos found that about 60% of those surveyed were “very unlikely” to donate them to another couple; only 7% were “very likely” to consider this option.
This was almost 10 years ago. Since then, embryo adoption and donation has skyrocketed in popularity! According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, donated or adopted embryos were used in 1,084 FETs in 2013, up from 596 in 2009. It is very likely that in 2019 that number will double!
Why are more and more families choosing to donate their remaining embryos to another family? Better education from clinics plays a big part in this decision—families are now thinking ahead into the future of what they will do if they have remaining embryos. This gives families time to think and process their decision of what to do, instead of making a quick, hasty decision in the heat of the moment.
So, what exactly should families take into account when considering donating their embryos to another family? We have compiled a list of five reasons on why families may choose the route of embryo donation:
Mounting storage costs
Obviously, this is a big reason why families choose to give their embryos to another family. If the family does not want to destroy their remaining embryos, but they cannot continue to pay the storage fees to keep them frozen, one logical explanation is to donate them to an adoptive family.
Empathy towards others facing infertility
Chances are if you went through IVF yourself, you know exactly how others may feel as they go through infertility. However, for some families IVF is not an option. Maybe they cannot afford the procedure or they have had multiple rounds of failed cycles. Whatever the case, embryo adoption may be the solution for these couples!
Giving the gift pregnancy
Traditional adoption is a beautiful family building option which brings many families love and joy. At the same time, there are many women who would genuinely like to experience pregnancy. You can give an adoptive mother that chance! She can monitor the prenatal environment and not have the fear of the birth mother changing her mind. She can also experience the morning sickness and the back pain, but also the anticipation, the doctor’s appointments, and baby showers.
Giving the gift of life
For families who have remaining embryos, many parents wonder what their unborn frozen children will be like. Have the same personality traits as your children? Will they look more like you? Or your partner? Why would you destroy them or keep them frozen if they have a life to live? Donating your embryos to an adoptive couple gives those embryos a chance at life—a chance you may not be able to give them otherwise. And for many families, that give peace of mind.
Desire of choice and knowledge
Many families who desire to donate their remaining embryos want to choose the adoptive family who receives and them and have knowledge of their well-being in the future. Many cannot bear the thought of donating them anonymously, not knowing if they have more biological children and who they are. With embryo adoption, you are given this choice and knowledge. Agencies like the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program give donating couples a choice on which adopting family they would like receiving their embryos with the opportunity to connect with the family and the child after the adoption is finalized, if so desired.
To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.