As patients embark on their journey through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) they rarely think about having a surplus of embryos.
Many couples are, however, fortunate to have excess embryos which create the dilemma of what to do with them.
Contemplating Embryo Donation
As patients embark on their journey through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) they rarely think about having a surplus of embryos. However, many couples are fortunate to have excess embryos, which create the dilemma of what to do with them.
Patients like you wrestle with the emotionally-laden decision of what to do with their cryopreserved embryos. It's a complex decision that is determined by personal experience, philosophy, religion, and social ethics. A solution for many ART patients could be to donate unutilized embryos to other infertile couples.
It is a generous, life-affirming act that offers the opportunity for parenthood to others struggling with reproductive disorders. Giving the gift of life can also be a wonderful and fulfilling experience.
Embryo donation, however, is somewhat uncharted territory psychologically, legally and socially. Before offering fertilized eggs to others, it's critical that donors enter the process with a clear head. It is recommended that you, as a potential donor, seek advice from your doctor and/or counselor. If you are seriously considering donating your embryos to an infertile couple, this guide can help you understand the steps involved in donating anonymously.
What Is Embryo Donation?
When you utilize Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to conceive, the excess embryos are cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen for future use. The unutilized embryos can be donated to another couple, discarded or donated to medical research. Chances are you underwent screening for communicable diseases when you went through ART.
As Donors you will have to redo this testing prior to donating your embryos, which can be completed at our facility free of charge. You will also need to sign and notarize an authorization for release of embryos to donate your embryos to an infertile couple.
You must understand that by choosing this option, you are waiving any right and relinquishing any claim to the embryos and any pregnancy and offspring that might result from it. You will also be required to complete a donor application. Note that your donation may not culminate in a pregnancy for the recipient woman. The statistics for conceiving with frozen embryos may be lower than for a fresh IVF cycle.
Who Needs Donated Embryos?
Couples who utilize this form of ART do so if they have significant infertility issues such as both male and female infertility, are unable to adopt or cannot afford to, or have a family history of genetic disease where direct reproduction is not recommended.
How Are You Chosen?
The recipient couple chooses your embryos based on an anonymous abstract which has general information about your demographics (physical characteristics), genetics (family medical history), motives (why you are donating the embryos) and intentions (your personal wishes for the embryos). This information is important for the recipient's obstetrician and pediatrician. There is no information shared between you and the recipient other than that which is divulged anonymously on the abstract. In rare cases, some couples desire a "directed donation," where you are no longer an anonymous donor. Reasons for this could be that the donors want to have knowledge of the potential child, or if the couples are related or know each other.
How Do Embryo Donation And Adoption Compare?
It is both different and similar. It is very different in the sense that the recipient gives birth to the child, which makes the child legally hers. With adoption, the legal transfer culminates after birth, as you cannot adopt a child before birth. Also, the donation is completely anonymous, so you will never know about the recipient. If there is a medical reason, for the health of the child, the recipient could contact Long Island IVF to attempt to acquire more medical information. It is similar to adoption because you may wonder if your embryos ever did produce a child. Therefore, before embryo donation, you must weigh the impact that this will have on your life, your family, your children and the children born of the donation.
Our Donor Embryo Team
Our program is run by experts in the field of reproductive endocrinology and infertility (REI) who are nationally recognized for their success, compassion and commitment to research. All of our physicians are board certified or active candidates for board certification in REI. Our doctors have also received national awards for their excellence, including Best Doctors in New York and more.
What Are The Health Regulations For This Procedure?
Here at Long Island IVF, we use IVF screening on the male and female as the initial screen. When you decide to donate your embryos, we re-screen you, thereby having a quarantine effect. If you were negative with communicable disease testing prior to donating your embryos and you are still negative on re-screen, it should be safe for the recipient to use those embryos. The recipient will be advised of the potential communicable disease risk.
What Costs Are Incurred With Donating?
You will not incur any costs for donating your embryos. Long Island IVF will take care of all transport and processing fees. There will be no charge for your re-screen blood work if completed at one of our practice’s convenient locations. Also, upon donation of your embryos, you cease paying any storage fees for those embryos.
Are You Compensated For Donating?
You are not paid for your kindness. Your donation is considered an altruistic gift to an infertile recipient.
Please contact the Melville office at 631-752-0606 with any questions.