You have come to the decision that you would like to donate your remaining embryos to a recipient. Great! You may be thinking though, “Where in the world should I donate them? Who should I donate them to? Can I choose the family they go to? Do I have to communicate with them?”
The great news is that you are not alone in your questions and you have options! Your decision is unique to you. We encourage you to read through the options below and ask yourself, “What is best for me and my embryos?”
A word of caution: If you are thinking of donating your remaining embryos to another family, you must meet the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements for live, tissue donation. This means you must complete updated infectious disease testing and your fertility clinic must provide all the records they have on your embryos. We have heard of fertility clinics destroying patient records after a certain amount of time. If this is the case for you, unfortunately, embryo donation may not be an option. The sooner you make the decision to donate your embryos, the better.
Option 1: Embryo Adoption Agency
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. The donors and adopters may share desired information with one another including health history, embryo information, and family background which aids in the matching process. They mutually agree upon a level of future communication. This may be facilitated by the agency if desired or no communication may be desired at all.
Embryo adoption provides safeguards to protect all parties involved and it tends to be more child-centric in its process. Embryo adoption agencies provide resources and guidance to families as they make their way through the program. You can view a list of embryo adoption programs here.
Option 2: Fertility Clinic Embryo Donation Program
Embryo donation programs are most often a part of a fertility clinic or an organization that is affiliated with a specific clinic or medical facility. Embryo donation programs provide potential embryo recipients information on the embryos as well as limited medical information about the donor due to the anonymous nature of clinic donation programs. You can view our list of embryo donation programs by state here.
Option 3: Match Yourself with a Recipient
You may know someone personally who would benefit from your embryos. In this case, you and the recipient are responsible for the legal, medical, regulatory, and logistical necessities of the donation. There are some programs and online databases which will help you navigate these important processes for a fee after you self-match.
The Decision is Yours
Still feeling unsure? We have many resources to help you along this journey. Check out our Donor Resources page for additional information and support. We encourage you to seek education, so you feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and confident when you decide to move forward.
Maybe you are doubting if donating your embryos is the right path for you after all. There are many questions, fears, and doubts to face when deciding what to do with your remaining embryos, let alone all the wonderings your partner may bring to the table! If you need some help in processing your thoughts and the options above, use our Embryo Donation Decision Tool to help you and your partner work through this together.
There are options and there is help for you. Be encouraged to move forward in your embryo donation journey today! To learn more about embryo donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.