Embryo adoption can be a great opportunity for families, but can also introduce a variety of new uncertainties. Some of those uncertainties could include the waiting period, costs, legal matters, and more. Before beginning your embryo adoption journey, make sure you adopt the mindset of, “expect the unexpected” so that you are able to manage the highs and lows of the process.

There are plenty of resources available through the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center but here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you begin your adoption process.

What You Might Expect

In many ways, embryo adoption is similar to normal adoption. There are decisions that have to be made, such as deciding whether to establish a relationship with the donating family. An open adoption is one where both families are open to staying in contact with one another. This can be strange and uncomfortable for some people, so there are other options like semi-open, closed, and anonymous. Semi-open adoption allows for some contact, but it is generally limited and often includes a third party that acts as a mediator; closed adoption means that there will be no communication after the child is born. (Closed adoptions/donations are not as commonplace anymore, as research shows closed/secretive placements are not in the best interests of the child born.)

The kind of relationship between the donating family and your own is up to you. However, keep in mind that both parties must agree, which means your wait time could be longer depending on the type of relationship you are looking for. At the end of the day, you should make the decision that you think is best for your child moving forward.

Unexpected Costs

If you have looked into traditional adoption before, you know it can be expensive. In general, medical costs can be pricey. The good news is that embryo adoption is significantly less expensive than a traditional adoption process. Traditional adoptions can cost between $25,000 – $45,000; with embryo adoption, that range is reduced to approximately $10,000 – $20,000. You should also account for necessary travel and associated expenses, as you may have to travel to a fertility clinic if there are no options available near your home.

The good news is that there are grants and scholarships available! There are different foundations and organizations that offer aid if you qualify. Some qualifications could include infertility, U.S. residency, and marriage. Before you make any big financial decisions, be sure to examine your finances. Some individuals choose to take on a loan for an expense as big as this, so it is important to re-organize your current debts. If credit card debt and associated interest is an area of concern for you, establishing a plan for paying off credit card debt beforehand can help free up money in your budget to help pay for the embryo adoption. If you can refinance your current debts for a better interest rate, that can also help you ease the financial concerns you may have during the process.

Future Trauma in Children

This is something that might be unexpected, but the same kinds of thoughts and feelings traditionally adopted children have when they get older can also show up in embryo-adopted children. Many adopted children wish to know more about their biological parents when they get older. The good news is many of the negative aspects of this are very avoidable. The most effective way to avoid these issues is to be open and honest with your children. Explaining to your kids where they come from while they are young will allow them to take in the information as a child so it does not come as a surprise later in life.


The timeline for embryo adoption includes a few of the steps mentioned above, but you can also read more about some of the steps involved.

Some of the steps include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing a home study
  • Matching with a donor
  • Handling any legal matters
  • Coordination of embryo shipment

Pregnancy is not guaranteed in embryo adoption, so there may be a need for multiple FETs, which could also affect your timeline and cost. So do not be caught off-guard by the ‘unexpected. Embryo adoption can be a fantastic way to start a family, and there are many resources available to learn all about the process.

To learn more information about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.