News headlines proclaimed, “Twins born from embryos frozen 30 years ago,” captivating our collective amazement as we pondered the circumstances enabling such an extraordinary event. For those with embryos in storage, this revelation may spark thoughts about the possibility of donating embryos to another hopeful couple.

It is easy to assume, “My embryos have only been frozen for five years; there’s plenty of time!”

Yet, drawing on extensive experience in the field of embryo adoption, we urge you to reconsider this assumption. While research indicates that children can still be born from older embryos, the unpredictable factor lies in whether a fertility clinic will permit the transfer.

A significant hurdle arises when attempting to donate older embryos—the willingness and capability of the receiving clinic to thaw and transfer them.

The evolving science of thawing and freezing embryos poses challenges, especially for embryos frozen before 2012 using the ‘slow-freezing’ method. Post-2012, ‘vitrification’ became the prevailing, safer, and more effective freezing method. However, most clinics no longer train their embryologists in slow-freezing, making it challenging to find a clinic willing to undertake the thawing and transfer, even if an adopting family is eager.

Another compelling reason not to delay embryo donation is the scarcity of medical records predating 2012.

Clinics often dispose of records after 5-10 years, and those stored for the long term become challenging to retrieve. Essential for the donation process, these medical records, containing crucial embryology information, are pivotal for success. Without them, attempting to donate embryos becomes a more daunting challenge.

If you are contemplating embryo donation, take into account these risks as your embryos await their fate in frozen storage. They are the siblings to your children—lives worth preserving and living.

Do not postpone giving your embryos the opportunity for life!

To delve deeper into the process of donating embryos to another family, explore