Donor Embryo Recipients: The Process

couple pregnant with donor embryo

Donor Embryo Recipients: The Process

Individuals or couples interested in third-party reproduction have the option of using donor embryos. These embryos are lovingly donated by couples who use IVF and feel their family is complete.

Rather than thaw and discard their embryos or donate them to science, these couples opt to make them available to individuals and couples pursuing IVF as a fertility treatment option.

Overview of Embryo Donation

Certain infertility diagnoses or family-building choices are more likely to direct patients toward third-party reproduction solutions. – such as using donor eggs, donor sperm, or a gestational carrier/surrogate.

Embryo donation is another form of third-party donation and one that we encourage when it feels right to our patients.

If you’re unfamiliar with the idea of embryo donation, we recommend visiting the National Embryo Donation Center website, which provides a more comprehensive overview. Here is a brief overview:

  • IVF fertility treatments create a surplus of unused, viable frozen embryos.
  • There are approximately 1,000,0000 (one million) embryos in the U.S. which will not be used for future IVF treatments.
  • Donating/receiving embryos can be the answer to many family’s prayers.

Benefits of Using Donated Embryos For IVF

There are several benefits to being an embryo recipient (or donor).

1. It honors the life of the embryo

We understand that the question of when a fertilized egg/embryo is “alive” is one of continuous debate. Opinions aside, most couples struggle with the decision of what to do with excess embryos when their family building is complete, or they’ve decided to forgo further fertility treatments. These embryos were created as the result of immeasurable love and emotional intention.

Opting to use a donor embryo lovingly contributed by a family who has been on your journey is a beautiful way to honor their journey – and yours – full circle.

2. Uphold spiritual integrity

Similarly, many of our clients come from religious or spiritual values that honor life in all of its forms. The belief systems support IVF but are challenged when the question of “what to do with extra embryos” arises. Embryo donors report feeling invaluable peace of mind – and heart – when they know the embryos will all be used towards the mission of creating human lives.

3. High fertility rates

Statistically speaking, donated embryos contributed to higher-than-normal fertility rates for their recipients. As with any IVF success rate, the recipient’s age, physical, and reproductive/anatomical health are contributing factors. However, on average, the live birth rate for pregnancies via donated embryos is between 43% and 45%.

4. It can be more affordable than using donor eggs

Couples cannot receive any financial compensation for donating their embryos. Embryo donation is an act of untethered generosity. This is different from the large majority of egg donations. Unless you’re receiving eggs donated by a friend or family member, most egg donors are generously compensated for their efforts – and this cost passes to recipients.

In the case of embryo donation, no money changes hands. However, there are typically costs associated with being an embryo recipient as the process is treated as an embryo adoption, which requires legal work and resulting fees. Also, we highly recommend individuals or couples considering donor embryos for IVF consult with a fertility counselor to look at the decision from various angles.

Donor Recipient Process

Several steps are required before you can use donor embryos for IVF cycles.

1. Work with a fertility treatment center

In most cases, this is already in progress as most couples turn to donor embryo options when they can’t use their own sperm and eggs for IVF. Using embryos for IVF is also an option for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals. So, if you haven’t already, scheduling an appointment with a fertility center is the first step.

2. Seek legal and therapeutic counsel

Sometimes, people use the term “embryo adoption,” a misrepresentation as legal adoption solely refers to a child already born. However, there are legal forms that must be completed by both the embryo donors (releasing them of any legal rights to any child born from their embryos) and the recipients.

As mentioned above, seeking legal and therapeutic counsel is wise to ensure you’ve looked at current and future scenarios from multiple angles.

3. Select your embryo donor

You have the ability to select your embryo donor, similar to selecting a donor egg or sperm. This allows recipients to screen for factors that matter to them, such as race, physical coloring, donor interests and talents, etc.

Most IVF centers have available embryos in-house, donated by previous patients. You can also use national embryo donation banks.

To optimize embryo quality and fertility chance, embryo donation is restricted by:

  • How long embryos were frozen.
  • Age of the donor parents when embryos were created.
  • Any known genetic/chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Which stage embryos were frozen (must have been frozen in the blastocyst stage)
  • Any other restrictions specified by the fertility center or embryo source.

4. Decide on your IVF timeline

Once you decide to proceed with IVF using a donor embryo, we’ll discuss your ideal timeline and create a schedule for you. In most cases, we’ll manipulate the embryo recipient’s menstrual cycle so we can transfer the embryo(s) on Day 5 – closely mimicking the body’s natural fertility/conception window.

Then, like all women participating in IVF, you’ll endure the two-week wait (TWW), after which you’ll return for a pregnancy test.

Fertility Center of Dallas Supports Embryo Donor IVF

Are you interested in using a donor embryo for IVF? Contact Fertility Center of Dallas, and we’ll guide you through the process step by step.

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