Archive for the ‘Embryo Storage’ Category

Embryo Donation: No “Adoption” Required

Posted on December 2nd, 2009 in Adoption, Assisted Reproduction, Embryo Donation, Embryo Storage | 1 Comment »

With the advent of IVF, what to do with excess (or leftover) embryos became a surprising problem for infertile couples. Previously, they had no family; now, they have a family of embryos! Embryos that may be donated, without the need for adoption.

After creating a family with a few of the embryos, many of those couples (or single parents) choose to donate the excess embryos to other individuals for conception. This is a real alternative to destruction and donation to scientific research.

The legalities of donating embryos to another infertile person(s) is relatively simple: it involves a contract between the donating and recipient parties. The parties’ identities may be guarded by the respective attorneys. It is viewed as any other donation of genetic material. However, some intermediaries call this process “embryo adoption.” That is a misnomer – no adoption is necessary. As the ASRM stated this month, the correct term is, in fact, “embryo donation”. “Home visits, judicial review and other adoption procedures are not necessary and not appropriate for a patient whose case entails what is most accurately characterized medically as a tissue donation,” stated in December issue of the journal Fertility & Sterility.

Parties with excess embryos should not be dissuaded from giving their unwanted embryos to another infertile person and couples should not be discouraged from receiving them because of inaccurate beliefs that they would have to undergo an adoption.

Donating Leftover Embryos to Medical Research

Posted on September 24th, 2009 in Assisted Reproduction, Embryo Donation, Embryo Storage, Technology | No Comments »

The National Institutes of Health moved closer this week to fulfilling President Obama’s promise earlier this year that he would lift restrictions on funding human embryonic stem cell research. Human embryonic stem cell research can help us determine how diseases arise, test new drugs, and create new cells to repair ailing tissue.

These latest developments give realistic options to patients who have leftover embryos stored at clinics around the country. When patients go through IVF to create embryos, whether with their own genetic material or that of a donor, they often have leftover embryos. With the increasingly successful IVF rates, doctors implant fewer embryos with better results. That means there are more leftover embryos of which to dispose.

Patients may choose to keep the embryos in storage, but that can cost hundreds of dollars a year in fees, and isn’t a final answer. They may choose to donate them to another person, but are often hesitant as the embryos would be the genetic siblings to their own children. Finally, they may choose to destroy them. However, after years of infertility, and the emotional and financial struggles that go along with that, patients have a philosophically hard time in doing so. A more popular option, therefore, may be to donate them to medical research with the idea that they are then helping society as a whole, even if the embryos are ultimately destroyed.

However the patients feel, they should speak with a fertility counselor, their doctor and an attorney in making their decision.