How Successful is Embryo Donation & How Much Does it Cost?

Dawn Davenport


Embryo Donation (also sometimes called embryo adoption*) is the donation of unused embryos by the people who created them to another person or couple for family building. Embryo donation is becoming an increasingly popular way to create a family, but how successful is embryo donation and how much does it cost. And, oh yeah, how do you find donated embryos to use??

In vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles often result in more embryos than a patient wants to use. These unused embryos are usually frozen for the couple to attempt another pregnancy, but some may remain after the couple (or single) completes their family. One option for what to do with remaining unused frozen embryos is to donate them to another infertility patient for a frozen embryo IVF cycle. Over 1000 embryos are donated and transferred each year.

Success Rate of Embryo Donation

The question most people who have been struggling for years with unsuccessful fertility treatment ask is will they be able to get pregnant with donated embryos? The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) began in 2015 to break out embryo donation from other frozen embryo transfers, so we are now able to give success rates for embryo donation.

36.7 % of embryo donation transfers (or embryo adoptions, as it is sometimes called) resulted in a live birth in the last year data was reported (2016).

The percentage of frozen embryo transfers resulting in a live birth depends upon the age of the donating women or egg donor at the time the embryos were created. The younger the egg, the higher the success rate. Keep in mind that recipients will know the age of the donor/egg before they decide to accept the embryos. Many donated embryos were created using donor eggs and donors are usually in their 20s.

Cost of Donating Embryos for the Donating Couple

Donating couples or singles do not pay anything associated with the donation, but also do not receive payment for their embryos. It is not possible to recoup the cost of IVF by donating your leftover embryos.

Embryo donation does not cost the donating family anything. Cost to the receiving family varies depending on what services both families want.

Cost of Embryo Donation for the Recipient

Cost varies on a number of factors, but primarily on what services the donating family and the receiving family want and whether travel is required.

  • Infertility clinics: $4,000-$10,000. Some clinics charge only their standard rate for a frozen embryo transfer, while others charge more depending on services provided. You must add in the cost of a an attorney that specializes in Assisted Reproductive Technology.
  • Specialized embryo donation centers: $9,000-$16,000 (Higher fees usually include some degree of openness, and travel. May not include legal fees.)
  • Adoption agencies: $6,000-$16,000. (Generally includes services such as screening of recipient families and counseling/education. Usually includes legal fees.)

Where to Find Embryos that Have Been Donated

We received this question often enough that we did a Creating a Family radio show to answer it. You can listen on your phone, tablet, iPod, or computer.




Creating a Family has many resources for Embryo Donation/Embryo Adoption. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:

* The American Society of Reproductive Medicine has stated that the preferred term is “embryo donation”. Some adoption agencies that have programs, however, use the term “embryo adoption” because they think it better reflects the model that they use and the services they provide.

Originally published in 2015; Updated in 2018.
Image credit: frankieleon

16/04/2018 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Infertility, Infertility Blog, Infertility Resources, Other Adoption Resources | 10 Comments

10 Responses to How Successful is Embryo Donation & How Much Does it Cost?

  1. Avatar Sandra says:

    Hello, My husband and I would like to adopt embryos. What is the process ? We are ready to start the prices.

    • Tracy Whitney Tracy Whitney says:

      Your best first step would be to work with your current infertility specialist for recommendations and referrals for clinics near you that do embryo donation. Best wishes!

  2. Avatar Kay says:

    Thank you for discussing such an important and sensitive issue. I just wanted to highlight one thing from your post: “The percentage of frozen embryo transfers resulting in a live birth depends upon the age of the donating women or egg donor at the time the embryos were created.” Age is only one factor that is indicative of success for a live birth, there are other factors (many of which are unknown, for example, unknown genetic conditions in the donor of the egg or sperm).

  3. Avatar A Trivedi says:

    We have 2 Frozen embryos that we will not need anymore. We do not want them destroyed. Hoping that you can help us find suitable family in need. (edited to remove identifying personal information)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑

Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.