5 Things to Know About Embryo Donation

A Quick Introduction to Embryo Donation

IVF is the most successful method of assisted reproduction in which a man's sperm and a woman's eggs are combined outside of the body in a laboratory dish. One or more embryos may be transferred into the woman's uterus, where they may implant in the uterine lining and develop.(1)

IVF Using Both Donor Egg and Sperm

The IVF procedure may be done using a couple’s own eggs and sperm, or in some cases, may involve donor eggs, donor sperm, or even donor embryos (using both donor egg and donated sperm, sometimes referred to as double donor IVF). 

Embryo donation allows patients to use donated embryos during their IVF treatment in hopes of achieving a pregnancy. In this blog, we’re going to share 5 things you should know about embryo donation!

1. Where Do the Embryos Come From?

It’s very common for patients to have leftover embryos after they have completed their IVF treatment. This happens because the goal at the beginning of the IVF process is to create as many healthy embryos as possible to have the best chance at achieving a pregnancy. However, once patients have successfully grown their families and have no desire for more babies, they are faced with the decision of what to do with remaining embryos.

It’s a tough decision, which is why many patients leave embryos cryopreserved in storage until they decide what to do or indefinitely. Fortunately, many patients choose to donate their leftover embryos to be used by another hopeful parent. 

While browsing the Donor Nexus online donor embryo database, you will see that in some cases an egg donor was used to create the embryo. In this case, the egg donor’s health history is also shared on the profile.

2. Choosing the Genetic Traits or Gender You Desire

Recipients can choose the genetic traits they desire by looking through donor embryo profiles offering family history, ethnicity, and social backgrounds of the donors.

Additionally, at the time of writing this blog post, about 30% of the donor embryo profiles on our database have had genetic testing performed. This is especially important for intended parents who wish to know the gender, as the sex chromosomes are determined through genetic testing and listed on the online profile. 

If genetic testing has not been performed on the embryos, you can have it done once you have secured the embryos.

3. Flexible Options for Open or Anonymous Donations

At Donor Nexus, we proudly offer both anonymous and open donations to accommodate the wishes and desires of embryo donors and recipients. By offering this flexibility within our program offerings, we’ve pioneered an industry-leading Embryo Donation Program

We also offer our Independent Match Embryo Coordination Program to facilitate communication between embryo donors and recipients who have found each other on their own.

While most intended parents do opt for anonymous, open donations are becoming a more popular option and we’re proud to have a good selection to accommodate both preferences. At the time of writing this blog, currently 80% of the donor embryo profiles listed in our database are for anonymous donations. 

Learn more: Anonymous vs. Open Embryo Donation: What Are My Options?

4. Opportunity for Genetic Siblings 

It is common for more than one donor embryo to be available from the same donors, so there’s an opportunity for recipients to have more than one child with similar genetics. Several donor embryo profiles in our database have multiple embryos available from the same genetic mother and genetic father. In some cases, there are as many as 10-11 embryos available. This provides a wonderful opportunity for intended parent(s) who desire for their children to be genetic siblings. 

5. The Process is Different Than Embryo Adoption

The terms embryo donation and embryo adoption are often wrongly used interchangeably. We know the verbiage may be confusing, however, there are important differences in the process of embryo donation vs. the process of embryo adoption. One of the main differences is that during embryo adoption, intended parents are typically required to complete a home study. A home study is a comprehensive family study conducted by a state licensed adoption agency, typically costing in the range of $2,000 - $3,500. 

Essentially, embryo adoption views the embryo as a child, requiring the recipients to go through a comprehensive legal process to “adopt” the embryo. Embryo donation is a more straightforward process which views the embryo as a gift that is being donated and the recipients are accepting ownership. As intended parents, you are the legal guardians of the child and listed as so on the birth certificate.

Find Additional Embryo Donation Resources in Our Blog

We hope you found this information on embryo donation (IVF with donor egg and sperm) helpful! If you’re looking for more information on embryo donation, we have additional resources available for you in the Donor Nexus blog:

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