How much do we really know about fertility?

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Psychological Aspects of Embryo Donation/Adoption

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Family Formation Law - Embryo Donation/Adoption

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Monday, July 9, 2018, 05:11

  Continue to maintain them in storage indefinitely

It is currently unknown whether the length of time embryos have been frozen will affect their viability, although improvements in freezing and thawing protocols used may result in greater longevity for embryos frozen in the last ten years. Embryo cryopreservation did not become commonplace until the late 1980s, and most often after such a length of time, couples do not attempt to utilize them. Embryo survival rates after thawing, and rates of successful pregnancy, may also vary depending on the stage at which they were frozen. Theoretically, it is possible that cryopreserved embryos may remain viable beyond the lifetime of the donors, however it is also possible that the decision to maintain embryos in storage indefinitely may eventually become a passive decision for disposal.


 Thaw and don’t use (or transfer in a way that is unlikely or impossible to result in pregnancy)

Some couples with unused embryos are not comfortable donating them to another family or to research, yet do not want to continue incurring storage fees. They may choose to have them thawed and disposed of by their clinic. Most clinics will require the couple to sign a release form prior to disposal. Some clinics may allow the couple to take the embryos home after thawing, for private disposition.

Some couples prefer to have their embryos thawed and transferred into the woman’s vagina. It is impossible for a woman to get pregnant this way, since a fertilized egg cannot move from the vagina to the uterus as sperm do. The embryos will end their life cycle in the same manner that occurs during any unassisted cycle when a fertilized egg does not implant (i.e., it moves out of the uterus through the cervix into the vagina, and passes from the woman’s body during her menstrual period).

A variant of this procedure is for the embryos to be transferred to the woman’s uterus at a time during her menstrual cycle when it is unlikely for her to become pregnant. This procedure is sometimes referred to as “Compassionate Transfer.”

Options regarding final disposition of embryos will vary depending upon the policy of the clinic and the laws in your state.


 Donate them to scientific research

Some people feel that embryonic stem cell research holds the key to curing many diseases, and choose to donate their embryos to scientific research. Embryonic stem cells are unique cells that can develop into any other cell in the body. Embryonic stem cell research being conducted with federal funding can currently only be performed on a limited number of stem cell lines, all of which existed prior to August 9, 2001. Federally funded embryonic stem cell research is conducted under strict regulatory oversight. However, privately funded research does not operate under these restrictions, and some states are now beginning to fund stem-cell research as well.

Some couples choose to donate their unused embryos to their IVF laboratory’s quality assurance program, in order to help the lab train employees and improve the services provided to other infertile couples.

 Donate them to someone else who wants to conceive (Embryo Donation)

Embryo Donation is a compassionate and caring option that helps someone else build their family. Embryos can be donated anonymously, or donors can personally select the recipients (known donation). This website contains information on both options, as well as a database of waiting recipients.


© 2005 Miracles Waiting, LLC.

This page was written based on the personal experiences of individuals, and information gathered regarding the process of Embryo Donation in the United States. Nothing contained herein should be construed as constituting medical or legal advice. Miracles Waiting, Inc. does not guarantee that all of the information provided herein is accurate or up-to-date. Furthermore, procedures and practices can vary greatly from clinic to clinic and state to state. For this reason, we suggest that you verify all of the information provided with your physician, attorney, or other applicable professional.

About Miracles Waiting,
Miracles Waiting is an online destination to connect families waiting to receive embryos with embryo donors.
Miracles Waiting does not employ, recommend or endorse any adoption provider or adoption seeker nor is it responsible for the conduct of any adoption provider or adoption seeker. Miracles Waiting provides information and tools to help embryo donors and recipient families connect and make informed decisions. However, each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate adoption provider or adoption seeker for themselves or their families and for complying with all applicable laws in connection with any relationship they establish. Miracles Waiting does not provide legal or medical advice, or engage in any conduct that requires a professional license.
Miracles Waiting is independent and not affiliated with any religious organization, or adoption agency. Miracles Waiting doesn’t turn anyone down because of race, age, marital status, sexual preferences, or religion. We feel that such requirements are the concern of those donating and receiving embryos in accordance with their own preferences, circumstances and beliefs, and should not be determined by Miracles Waiting. We offer embryo donors and recipients the opportunity to find each other, but we allow them the freedom to work out the details of their embryo donation on their own terms. We have been very successful in this endeavor and have made hundreds of matches, many of which have resulted in pregnancies.
Miracles Waiting is not a clinic and we also don't have embryos available for donation in storage. Our program is entirely web based and works as a matching service for donors and recipients. This allows the donors to make "known" donations and for both the donors and recipients to create the agreement and relationship they want. It is always up to the family donating the embryos who they pick for their embryos and not us.
We don’t do the matching. Most donations arranged through Miracles Waiting are known donations and, at a minimum, you will have email contact directly with the recipient families.
All we do is facilitate the match between the donor and the recipient. The rest will be between the donors and you. Also both of the clinics (yours and the donors) should help guide you and the donor through the process of embryo donation, as each clinic has different requirements.

About screening: We do not request any screenings from families. This is always up to the family donating their embryos, not us.
If you are an embryo donor, you will need to request from the families you are matching with, any screening that is important to you or that is advised by your legal representative. If you are an embryo recipient, it will depend on the donor family donating to you if they will request any screening from you.
We urge our members to always seek legal representation when drawing up an embryo donation contract so you will protect yourself and others involved from engaging in any unwillingly illegal transaction.
The Information provided in this page and website is for educational purposes only and you should not rely on it as a substitute for professional assistance. If you are concerned about your health or the health of a loved one please seek the help of a medical care provider.
Copyright © 2004 - 2018 Miracles Waiting - Embryo Donation Program, All Rights Reserved.
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