Many infertility patients end treatment with frozen embryos remaining and must decide what to do with these unused leftover embryos. Their options include: donating to another couple for family building, donating to research, thawing and discarding (including compassionate transfer), or continuing indefinite storage. In the US, your options may be limited by state law.
In addition to the extensive resources listed below, Creating a Family also has an entire section on the option of donating embryos to another family – Embryo Donation (also sometimes called Embryo Adoption). We also maintain a list of laboratories and tissue banks that accept embryos for research.
- “Fertility Patients’ Views about Frozen Embryo Disposition: Results of a Multi-Institutional U.S. Survey” by Anne D. Lyerly, published in Fertility and Sterility, September 2008. This is the largest survey (1000 patients) on what patients with leftover embryos want to do with them. The majority preferred to donate to research. There is a good article summarizing the research at Medical News Today.
- “Disposition of Cryopreserved Embryos by Infertility Patients Desiring to Discontinue Storage” by Susan Lanzendor, published in Fertility and Sterility, March 2009. 59% preferred donating to scientific research, 38% preferred discarding, and 3% preferred donating to a known or anonymous person/couple for attempted pregnancy. An abstract is available at Fertility & Sterility.
- “How Couples Who Have Undergone In Vitro Fertilization Decide What to do with Surplus Frozen Embryos” by Robert D. Nachtigall, published in Fertility and Sterility, December 2009. An abstract is available at Fertility & Sterility.
Creating a Family has many resources to help you evaluate all your options for how to dispose of your remaining embryos after fertility treatment. A few we think you will find particularly helpful are:
- What Will You Do if You Have Embryos Left Over? (blog post)
- Seeking Closure When Disposing of Unused Embryos (1 hr. radio show w/ experts)
- Donating Unused Frozen Embryos to Research (1 hr. radio show w/ experts)
- How to Donate Unused Embryos to Research (video)
- Embryo Donation/Adoption (resource page)
Many more Creating a Family radio interviews with experts, videos, blogs, fact sheets, and Q and A’s with Experts on embryo disposition options can be found at the icons below.
Image credit: Mike_tn