Embryo Adoption vs. Embryo Donation

What is Embryo Adoption?

Understanding Embryo Adoption vs. Embryo Donation

What is embryo adoption, and how does it work compared to embryo donation? It's common for the terminology to be conflated, using the verbiage "adopting an embryo" whenever a donated embryo is used. However, it's important to know that the process of embryo adoption is quite different from embryo donation. 

On this page, we highlight the key differences between embryo donation vs. adoption to help you make the best choice for your family.

Embryo Adoption vs. Embryo Donation

Key Differences: Cost, Process, and Timeline

  • Embryo Adoption:
    • Cost: $12,000 – $15,000, plus a home study costing $2,000 – $3,500.
    • Process: Involves a legal adoption process, often requiring a home study and legal contracts.
    • Timeline: Typically takes 8-14 months before embryo transfer.
  • Embryo Donation:
    • Cost: Begins at $9,400 per cycle (excluding pre-testing, medications, and transfer).
    • Process: Generally anonymous and facilitated by the fertility clinic. No home study is required.
    • Timeline: At Donor Nexus, the process can typically be completed within 2-3 months of securing a donor embryo. 



  • Success Rates: There is no difference in the quality of embryos or success rates.
  • Where the Embryos Come From: In both embryo adoption and embryo donation programs, embryos are typically donated by patients who have completed their IVF treatments and have leftover embryos
  • End Goal: Both embryo adoption and embryo donation involve using donated frozen embryos in IVF with the hope of achieving a healthy pregnancy.


The primary difference between embryo adoption and embryo donation lies in the process — while embryo adoption requires a bit of a lengthy process, the embryo donation process is straightforward.

Defining "Adoption" and "Donation" to Better Understand the Differences

  • Embryo Adoption: This process views the embryo as a child, requiring recipients to undergo a comprehensive legal process to “adopt” the embryo.

  • Embryo Donation: This process views the embryo as a gift that is being donated. Recipients accept ownership without the extensive legal requirements of adoption.

At Donor Nexus, we offer embryo donation cycles. Our flexible program includes Open ID embryo donations, which share many similarities with embryo adoption.

Benefits of the Donor Nexus Embryo Donation Program

  • No wait list.
  • No home study required.
  • High success rates.
  • Flexible options for Open ID or Closed donations.
  • Our database features multiple embryos from the same donors, offering a chance for genetic siblings.
  • Choice of genetic traits from donor profiles, including family history and social background.
  • Clear legal guardianship as intended parents, with your names on the birth certificate.


Donor Nexus: Boutique Experience, Endless Possibilities

As a boutique embryo donation agency, Donor Nexus offers a personalized experience for both embryo donors and recipients. Here's what this means for you:

For Embryo Donors:

You have the opportunity to express any specific wishes or stipulations for the recipient(s) of your embryos. While many of our donors do not have preferences, we understand that personal, religious, or cultural reasons might influence your desires for the recipient(s). Here are some examples of stipulations you might see on embryo donor profiles:

  • Donor parents would like a letter from the intended parents for approval.
  • Recipients should be a heterosexual married couple.
  • Recipients should be LGBTQ+ affirming.

We believe that allowing donors to set these preferences creates a more fulfilling experience for both donors and recipients.

For Embryo Recipients:

You can choose profiles that align with your comfort and preferences. We offer free access to our comprehensive donor embryo database, featuring a wide variety of available donated embryos. Once you've narrowed down your search or have any further questions, we'll be happy to schedule a consultation meeting with you to discuss the next steps. Please note that we do not ship embryos to other clinics; patients must be willing to travel to our partner clinic in Southern California for the embryo transfer.

Your Unique Path to Parenthood

Choosing between embryo adoption and embryo donation depends on your personal circumstances and preferences. Both options provide a path to parenthood through the use of donated embryos.

At Donor Nexus, we offer a variety of donor embryo profiles in our database, including options for open ID embryo donation. This can meet your needs if you seek the benefits of embryo adoption without the lengthy process. Register for free and instant access to explore our online donor embryo database. If you have any questions, contact our team — we’re here to assist you in any way we can!

Start Your Journey Today

Our Embryo Donation Program →   Browse Our Donor Embryo Database →   

Find Additional Resources on Our Website

Embryo Donation Process →   Anonymous vs. Open ID →   FAQ →   Success Stories →   


How does embryo adoption work? How much does embryo adoption cost compared to donation? Learn more!



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We are always here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to start your journey!