Embryo Adoption: Honoring frozen embryos and giving them a chance at life - Reproclinic

Embryo Adoption: Honoring frozen embryos and giving them a chance at life

When a couple decides to opt for an IVF treatment in hope of finally achieving the so-desired pregnancy, they still must make one more important decision: what should they do with the remaining embryos which will be created, but not transferred?

The fertility clinic will cryopreserve the good-quality embryos that could lead to a future pregnancy. This, of course, requires the couple to pay an annual fee for the embryo cryopreservation maintenance and to specify biannually what fate they want to assign to them. Allow us to explain:

Spanish Law 14/2006 (Art. 11, section 4) stipulates that the different possible destinies of cryopreserved pre-embryos are: (a) their use by the woman herself, or together with her spouse; (b) their donation for reproductive purposes; (c) their donation for scientific research purposes; and (d) the discontinuation of their cryopreservation, applicable after the end of the maximum preservation period established, only after having exhausted the previously mentioned options. The informed consent about the destiny of the cryopreserved embryos can be modified at any time prior to its application, namely before any of the cryopreserved embryos are thawed for any purpose.

Prior to the creation of the embryos, the woman, together with her spouse (if there is one), must express their informed consent, choosing one of the options above, regarding the fate of any remaining good-quality embryos they end up with, that are to be cryopreserved. At least every 2 years, the parent couple is asked to renew or modify the informed consent they have previously signed, stating, once again, their decision about the destiny of the embryos. If the woman, or the couple, has already had a baby born via fertility treatment, and they consider their family project completed, making this decision proves to be an uphill task.

Sometimes it happens that they feel unable to decide on this matter. After 2 consecutive failed attempts to obtain the signatures of the consent of the parent couple, the embryos continue to be cryopreserved, but this time at the fertility clinic’s discretion for what concerns their fates. If 5 consecutive years pass from the day of freezing, where they have not explicitly expressed their decision regarding the destiny of their embryos, then the latter are considered abandoned.

If it is established that the fertility clinic is to keep custody of the abandoned cryopreserved embryos, then Reproclinic’s medical team will determine whether the embryos donated by infertile couples, together with the abandoned embryos are suitable to enter the clinic’s Embryo Donation & Embryo Adoption Program, and whether they’re eligible to be donated to other couples wishing to adopt them following Spanish law requirements. In any case, the fertility clinic complies with the confidentiality and anonymity requirements.

Embryo adoption could be a great solution for other heterosexual couples in which both people experience fertility problems, genetic incompatibility, implantation failures, and repeated miscarriages, as well as for women with poor-quality ovarian reserves. This treatment has many advantages for its recipients: there’s no need for prior hormonal stimulation and follicle puncture for obtaining oocytes, the anonymity of the donors is completely guaranteed, the process is overall simpler and faster, and the total cost is relatively lower in comparison to traditional IVF treatments.

Embryo donation allows the recipient woman to feel a stronger connection to it, as she is able to enjoy being pregnant, giving birth, breastfeeding, and raising the baby. Some say that, for a woman, embryo adoption is the same as conventional child adoption, with the added benefit of her being able to feel the baby’s little kicks when it is growing inside of her.

Each year, dozens of cryopreserved embryos remain under the custody of Reproclinic because they’re either donated or abandoned by their parents. But we believe in happy endings, so we put the healthy embryos up for donation, hoping that other couples or single women can set their differences aside, and adopt them. Being a good parent has nothing to do with DNA, and everything to do with loving and caring for the baby from the moment you hear his or her heartbeat. So, if you are interested in adopting an embryo or in receiving an embryo donated by another couple, that will eventually grow and become a healthy baby, don’t hesitate to contact us today to obtain more information, and schedule your first consultation with our team of professionals at Reproclinic.