The primary reason couples pursue in vitro fertilization is to have a baby. Seems like a reasonable expectation, right?

The stack of papers you sign before proceeding with your IVF treatment is thick. A few of those papers will be asking you about your plans for the ‘extra’ embryos you have cryo-preserved. But really, at that moment in time, the focus is getting pregnant and having a baby – not on the remote possibility of having remaining embryos!

Jump ahead eight years. Life is in full swing with 2-3 kids, school, activities, work, stresses, relationships; life happens. Unfortunately, life includes death and divorce. 

What if you planned to make healthy decisions now, rather than later?

Part of any healthy lifestyle includes planning for the future. This includes making a plan for the embryos you pay storage fees for each year. What are three things you can do today if you know you don’t plan to use the embryos for yourself?

  1. Create clear, notarized documents detailing your mutual desires for remaining embryos. No one likes to think about death or potential divorce. Those are stress-filled life events. Don’t wait until the event happens.
  2. Determine a disposition for your embryos now and implement it. You may donate to science.  You may thaw and discard them. You may donate them for reproduction through your fertility clinic or an adoption agency. The longer you wait, the more likely you’re leaving your non-decision to other people or the court system.
  3. If you still think you may use the embryos yourself, there are agencies who will allow you to pre-plan your donation for reproduction. This can add a level of security to your actions in step #1.

To learn more about embryo donation and adoption, visit