Did you know that human embryos are considered property in the United States of America?

This means that embryo donation and adoption do not fall under adoption law, but property law. When you gift your remaining embryos to another family or when you receive embryos, you are legally exchanging property. Ideologically, the desired result of any embryo donation or adoption is a child (who will not be genetically related to the parents). Which means you are participating in adoption.

Legally, since the embryos are considered property, you are completing a legal transfer of ownership. Understanding this difference is imperative to understanding the need for legally binding contracts. Let us discuss what your embryo adoption or donation contract may contain:

Relinquishment and Transfer of Embryos

This clause will cover the transfer of ownership of embryos and the transfer of parental rights of embryos and children born from such embryos. In addition, it will cover the plan for remaining embryos, should the adopting family be unable to transfer all embryos.

Communication Plan

This clause will cover the individualized communication plan between embryo donors and adopting parents. It includes, but not limited to, the frequency and medium of communication, if applicable.

Status of Children Born from Relinquished Embryos

Clear legal language stating that children born from the embryos will be morally and legally the adopted children of the adopting parent. This includes the stipulation that the birth certificate will list the names of the adopting parents as the mother and father. Clear legal language is used, stating that the embryo donors shall have no rights or responsibilities pertaining to any children born from the transfer of the embryos, including no right to inheritance of such children.

Secure legal transfer of ownership of the embryos from the embryo donors to the adoptive parents is critical to a complete and successful embryo adoption. Be wary of services claiming to complete an embryo adoption with little to no paperwork. While having less paperwork may seem nice in the moment, the consequences can be serious. In addition, be cautious of programs that refer you to outside attorneys instead of assisting you with the contracts themselves, as you will probably be forking over more money for the attorney’s fees than is necessary.

A good place to start is the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. They are able to assist you in finding an embryo match and complete secure, trusted embryo adoption agreements—at an all-inclusive rate.

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