The ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of embryo adoption1
Embryo donation, known as embryo adoption from the donor embryo recipient’s perspective, refers to when the embryos that are left over from one couple’s in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle are donated to another couple.
The donor embryo is placed into the recipient’s uterus with the hope that it will result in a successful pregnancy. The child belongs to the woman who carries it to term and who gives birth, but his or her genetic traits are those of the embryo donor.
Embryo donors are carefully screened for health problems and genetic diseases prior to the retrieval of eggs and sperm to create the embryos when they are undergoing IVF. In addition, donors may be rescreened at the time of embryo donation. Donor egg recipients also must undergo medical screening and testing.
IVF treatments often leave an excess of embryos, which the individual or couple may freeze for future frozen embryo transfers. Once it is decided that their family is complete, there may still be frozen embryos available.
Embryo donation is a developing field where success rates are measured by live births per embryo transfer, depending on the embryo’s quality, the egg donor’s age, the number of embryos transferred and the embryo’s developmental stage when frozen. According to the National Embryo Donation Center, the organization’s live birth rate with embryo donation is 50%.
Choosing embryo donation is also more cost-effective. According to RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, the average cost of embryo donation ranges from $2,500 to $4,000, while the average cost of an IVF cycle is $12,400.