Embryo Donation FAQ
Many couples who have undergone IVF and completed their own families are fortunate to have excess embryos, which creates the dilemma of what to do with them. It's a complex decision that is determined by personal experience, philosophy, religion, and social ethics. Some patients choose to donate their excess embryos to couples who have significant infertility issues such as both male and female infertility, or have a family history of genetic disease where direct reproduction is not recommended. It is a generous act that offers the opportunity for parenthood to others struggling with reproductive disorders.
However, embryo donation is somewhat uncharted territory psychologically, legally and socially. Before offering fertilized eggs to others, it is recommended that you 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.
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. Not all applicants are accepted to donate their frozen embryos. The screening process includes:
- completing a donor screening application
- providing medical health profiles and potentially copies of the donors’ medical records
- screening for communicable diseases which can be completed at our facility free of charge
- signing and notarizing 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.
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.
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. Before embryo donation, you must weigh the impact that this will have on your life, your family, your children as well as the children born of the donation. We do recommend that potential donors seek counseling services prior to donation in order to discuss these issues.
If you are a Long Island IVF patient and created your embryos with us, you will not incur any costs for donating your embryos. There will be no charge for your re-screen blood work if completed at one of our practice’s convenient locations. Also, upon acceptance into the donation program, you cease paying any storage fees for those embryos.
If you want to donate your embryos from another program, please be advised that there will be additional transport and processing fees as well as the requirement to provide additional clinical information about yourself and your partner, and embryology laboratory information about the embryos.
Your donation is considered an altruistic gift to an infertile recipient and you will not receive monetary compensation. Please contact our Egg Donor Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, RN in the Melville office at 631-768-8798 with any questions.