Families rarely find themselves at the beginning of their embryo adoption or donation journey without having experienced some ups, downs, twists, and turns in the road along the way. At the very least, prior to a couple placing their embryos for donation, they have struggled with their own infertility and attempts at family building. Adoptive families have also had their own roller coaster ride including exploring other adoptive methods to fertility treatments and everything in between.

It is safe to say that whether you are donating remaining embryos or wanting to adopt, you have lived a life that did not go according to plan.

One thing is for sure—we are all a little bit (if not excruciatingly) exhausted.

This is when most families begin to dig more seriously into embryo adoption and donation. Many roads are open on this journey. One of them is to self-match using an online or social media platform.

Self-matching with embryos can look very attractive, and we have seen some families have wonderful success with it.

Here are some of the pros:

  • There seems to be greater accessibility to information and personal connection through databases and social media.
  • There is also a high level of personalization – Adoptive and donor families decide on many of the details (legal fees, FDA requirements, shipping, clinic usage, ongoing communication, etc.) together.
  • There is no intermediary in the process. You deal directly with each other.

However, as attractive as the idea of self-matching can be, it is not a stroll down Easy Street. Having a family is hard (and incredibly rewarding), but be careful of taking shortcuts at this point in the process.

Believe it or not, there are some downsides to self-matching:

  • The costs can be unpredictable. Truly, at this point, for both the adoptive and donor families, the costs are unknown. The process of uncovering the myriad of costs to support the donation and adoption (think legal, FDA requirements, shipping, etc.) can get unruly, disconcerting, and overwhelming. More often than not, the costs are more than the families initially planned or expected. Sorting out who pays for what can also get contentious.
  • There is NO mediation between the two parties. Even though the idea of speaking directly with each other seems ideal, donor and adoptive families do not expect how high their emotions start to run when they move closer to exchanging ownership of the embryos. All seems to be going well until it is not… We have heard stories of ghosting, unreasonable requests, and hostility.
  • Let’s not forget the scammers. Yes, unfortunately, this is a real possibility and it does happen to even the most cautious individuals. You must be careful and put safeguards in place to vet potential adoptive or donor families.

Embryo donation and adoption can be an incredibly rewarding and amazing adventure. Nevertheless, it is not a stroll in the park, no matter which route you go to receive or donate embryos.

If you are getting ready to embark on one of the most important adventures of your lifetime, you must take the time to prepare yourself for the journey beforehand if you decide to go on it on your own. Even then, preparing for every eventuality is not possible. Many families find working with an experienced embryo adoption program is more reassuring, as they know they are in good hands if any circumstance arises.

To learn more about the different methods and organizations you can use to donate or adopt embryos through, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.