Whether you are using a mutual-matching agency, a clinic, or a self-match program to place or adopt your embryos, there are many things to take into consideration when deciding on a match. If you are feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities, this guide may help provide clarity on what to expect.

If going through a mutual-matching agency, placing families are given a selection of a few adopting families that fit their preferences best. The placing family can then decide on which family they want to adopt their embryos, and their family profile will be sent to the potential adopting family. Once the adopting family reviews the placing family’s profile, they are able to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the match.

If utilizing self-matching services or a fertility clinic, adopting families are able to look through a database of placing families, and reach out to the ones that stand out to them. Although this sounds ideal to many adoptive families, it can get exhausting to search for the ‘perfect’ family all on your own. Agencies typically have a higher success rate when it comes to matching the right families for one-another, as they have extensive experience in the embryo adoption field.

Placing Family Considerations:

  1. Level of openness desired: Do you want a family who will send you pictures every year? Or would you prefer to have semi-open communication through your agency?
  2. Personality: What do you have in common with the family? Can you relate to them? Do they seem like people you would like your genetic children to be raised by?
  3. Values: Do you prefer a family that has specific religious beliefs, if any?
  4. Experiences: Would you like to place your embryos with a family that has experienced similar issues with conception? Or do you prefer a family who already has the experience of raising children, and simply wants to add to their family through embryo adoption?
  5. Marriage: Are you comfortable placing with a single woman? Is there a certain amount of time you would like an adopting family to be married for?
  6. Financial stability: Would you prefer the adopting family to have reached a certain education level?
  7. Ethnicity: Are you open to placing with a family of any ethnicity?

Adopting Family Considerations:

  1. Health history: It might be helpful to create a list of physical and mental health conditions that the embryos you are adopting may carry. Ones you are not comfortable with and ones you are.
  2. Ethnicity: Are you willing to adopt embryos of any ethnicity?
  3. Level of openness desired: How much communication do you want with the placing family?
  4. Number of desired children: How many children do you want to build in to your family? This will determine how many embryos you adopt, in order to give you the best chances of achieving that desired amount of children.
  5. Donor genetics: About 50% of embryos are created using donor eggs or sperm. These embryos more often result in successful pregnancies, and there is extensive health history of the donor provided. Would you consider adopting embryos created this way?

An important fact for both placing and adoptive families to keep in mind when considering a match is that your matching time will be significantly faster if you are open to a wider variety of situations and circumstances. If you have many strict preferences, it may be difficult to sort through all the families available on self-matching platforms. Likewise, agencies will have a difficult time finding you a match if you have rigid expectations. It is a good idea to carefully weigh what is most important to you as a family, and go from there. Having an open heart and mind is key when considering what you desire in a match!

If you are interested in adopting embryos or donating your remaining embryos to another family, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.