EmbryogenesisMany couples going through fertility treatment store their additional embryos for use later if needed. For many of them, once their family-building is complete, they are often faced with what to do with the frozen embryos they have left. With thousands of embryos currently in storage, the idea of embryo adoptions is growing in popularity throughout the fertility community.

Here are some facts about frozen embryo adoption that you might not know.

Fact #1: Embryo adoption is similar to adoption of a living child.

Frozen embryo donation is putting your embryos up for adoption. You are giving your permission for another couple to use your genetic material for transfer in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Since you are the biological parent, you must release your rights to the embryos through legally binding documentation. This is not unlike the adoption of a child once he or she has been born.

Fact #2: There are two types of embryo adoption.

There are two types of adoptions available: anonymous and directed. With anonymous donation, you will not know the couple, and they will not know you. In directed embryo donation, you and the parents will know each other and will define your relationship however you choose.

Fact #3: The adoptive parents have been screened.

Much like other adoptive processes, parents who wish to adopt frozen embryos have also been screened. Many times, these couples have also been through fertility treatments but for whatever reason are not able to produce a viable embryo of their own, even through the use of a donated egg or sperm.

Fact #4: There are over 600,000 frozen embryos in storage in the United States.

With the increase in fertility treatments and improvements in the creation of viable embryos in fertility science, some experts have estimated that over 600,000 embryos are currently in storage here. There are even more than that when you consider the embryos that are stored in other countries all over the world. These embryos have three options: to be thawed and discarded, to be donated for scientific research, or to be adopted by another couple wishing to experience the joys of pregnancy, even if it isn’t with their own embryos.

Fact #5: There are agencies like Snowflakes Embryo Adoption and Donation that specialize in the process of embryo donation.

There are several agencies that specialize in this type of legal process. HRC Fertility works with Snowflakes Embryo Adoption and Donation for our patients. Whether you are looking to put your embryos up for adoption or looking to adopt embryos, agencies like Snowflakes have the processes and procedures to help facilitate a smooth process for couples. Frozen embryo adoption helps some couples achieve their dreams of family and others to find the best possible parents for their stored embryos.

For couples that cannot produce embryos from their biological material, frozen embryo adoption may allow them to start a family. Likewise, for couples that have already successfully achieved pregnancy through their fertility treatments but still have embryos in storage, putting embryos up for adoption lets them assist other infertile couples while making the best possible decision for their family.


“Q11: What are my options if I decide not to use my stored embryos?” www.asrm.org. Web. 8 August 2014. <http://www.asrm.org/awards/detail.aspx?id=6410>

“Snowflakes Embryo Adoption and Donation.” www.nightlight.org. Web. 8 August 2014. <http://www.nightlight.org/snowflake-embryo-adoption/>