More and more, infertility patients are considering using donated embryos if they have not been successful with infertility treatment using their own eggs and sperm. The first children to be born via embryo donation are now reaching adulthood. But how do you actually go about donating or receiving embryos?

When patients go through infertility treatment, they very well may end up with more embryos than they can use. These embryos remain in cryopreservation (frozen) until the patient decides what to do with them. One option is to donated these unused embryos to another couple.

Couples looking to use donated embryos have several options.

  • Join an embryo donation program with an infertility clinic. Keep in mind that many clinics limit their programs to current patients.
  • Go online and find a private match with both sides hiring attorneys that specialize in assisted reproductive law. (You should absolutely never use donor embryos without the help of an attorney that specializes in this area. Creating a Family has resources to help you find an attorney.)
  • Work with an adoption agency that has an embryo donation program. Usually these programs are called “embryo adoption” because they follow an adoption model where the donating family can specify criteria for who will “adopt” their embryos and the receiving family goes through some type of evaluation and education process.

Much more information on all these options, including the advantages and disadvantages to each is available by listening to this Creating a Family interview with Kimberly Tyson, Director of the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center: Where to Find Embryos for Embryo Donation/Adoption. We also have lots of information, including success rates and a breakdown of costs for each of these options on our Embryo Donation/Adoption resource page.

The Embryo Adoption Awareness Center came up with a handy infographic laying out the process for families choosing to work with an adoption agency to donate embryos or to receive donated embryos.

embryo adoption process; embryo donation process

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