Embryo Donation Options

A complex decision

Most couples or individuals who have embryos in storage plan to use them in future family building efforts, but those who chose not to have (additional) children can consider other options, including donation to another couple. The decision about what to do with excess, frozen embryos may be difficult, especially if the donating couple has living children from the cycle in which embryos were frozen. Because this is an emotional process, it is recommended that the embryo donors wait a minimum of three months between the time they sign the consent form to donate and the actual donation.

Types of embryo donation

For couples considering embryo donation, there are two donation options: known (open) and anonymous. In a known donation, the donor couple helps select who will receive their embryos. During the selection process the donor couple may think about the receiving couple’s religious and ethnic background, income level, educational credentials and whether the recipient couple has children. Donor couples may want to be informed if a pregnancy results and some may want ongoing contact with the recipient couple after the birth of a baby. An embryo matching service or agency can help match donor and recipient couples. Legal and emotional counsel is recommended to address some of the unique issues that arise during the know donation process.

In an anonymous donation, the IVF clinic usually selects the recipient couple. The clinic tries to match the donor and recipient in terms of ethnicity, physical characteristics and possibly religion. If a couple pursues an anonymous donation, the donor couple may never know if a pregnancy or birth occurred. The donor couple also needs to decide if they will tell their children that they may have a genetic sibling being raised by another couple.

Donors are not paid

Most couples or individuals who have embryos in storage plan to use them in future family building efforts, but those who chose not to have (additional) children can consider other options, including donation to another couple. The decision about what to do with excess, frozen embryos may be difficult, especially if the donating couple has living children from the cycle in which embryos were frozen. Because this is an emotional process, it is recommended that the embryo donors wait a minimum of three months between the time they sign the consent form to donate and the actual donation.

Other legal consideration

For couples considering embryo donation, there are two donation options: known (open) and anonymous. In a known donation, the donor couple helps select who will receive their embryos. During the selection process the donor couple may think about the receiving couple’s religious and ethnic background, income level, educational credentials and whether the recipient couple has children. Donor couples may want to be informed if a pregnancy results and some may want ongoing contact with the recipient couple after the birth of a baby. An embryo matching service or agency can help match donor and recipient couples. Legal and emotional counsel is recommended to address some of the unique issues that arise during the know donation process.

A complex decision

Most couples or individuals who have embryos in storage plan to use them in future family building efforts, but those who chose not to have (additional) children can consider other options, including donation to another couple. The decision about what to do with excess, frozen embryos may be difficult, especially if the donating couple has living children from the cycle in which embryos were frozen. Because this is an emotional process, it is recommended that the embryo donors wait a minimum of three months between the time they sign the consent form to donate and the actual donation.