If you are currently in the beginning stages, in the middle of, or just finalizing a divorce, we send our most heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

Whether the divorce was the best decision for the both of you, or if it came out of painful circumstances, it is one of the most difficult roads to walk. There is so much to decide and agree upon before you each go your own separate ways. One matter that soon-to-be ex-partners have to come to a decision to is what to do with any embryos they may have in frozen storage.

Many couples walking through the first steps of divorce discover they never made a plan-of-action if a divorce were to occur, which can lead to awkward and sticky circumstances. Some of which have received a good deal of attention from the media

You have invested your time and resources to create these embryos with the intended purpose of bringing children into your home. You may not have used all the embryos (or any of them) to complete your family, and now the thought of these embryos may bring up painful memories instead of joyful ones.  But if you look at it another way, you and your ex-spouse have actually made something wonderful—a beautiful legacy that can impact the lives of others. You could give the gift of happiness and joy to a family who cannot have biological children of their own, and are praying for such a chance to experience parenthood.

If you are feeling embryo donation is the right choice for your remaining embryos, here are the steps to follow:

1. Find a trusted embryo adoption program or clinic donation program to help you walk through the first steps of the process.

By working with an organization who can help facilitate the legal requirements, it will be a much smoother process than trying to navigate with just an attorney or on your own, as there are extra documents and required steps for couples who are currently in the midst of, or have finalized, a divorce. A great embryo adoption program to start with is Nightlight Christian Adoptions’ Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program.

2. You and your soon-to-be ex-partner need to be in agreement of the choice and complete all the necessary requirements to facilitate the donation.

The requirements are going to vary dependent on the adoption or donation program you are working with. At the very minimum, both parties will have to fill out agreements or applications with the program, complete health histories, and submit to updated donor blood work (a requirement of the FDA).

3. Determine which of you is going to take the lead and be the sole, legal owner of the embryos.

Having one owner of the embryos helps the process go much more quickly and smoothly, which may be a benefit to both of you. This way the program only needs to be in contact with one legal owner, and not two.

NOTE: If your divorce has not been finalized, you may wish to note the above steps, so you each know what is expected of you.

Again, no matter if the divorce was born out of natural separation, or a horrible circumstance, it can be a painful and emotional road to walk. But, hopefully with these guidelines, making a decision for your remaining embryos will be one less thing to worry about. To learn more about embryo donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org