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The Most Important Facts to Know About Embryo Selection, Adoption and Donation

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There are many paths to creating a family— from planning natural birth to using In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), to connecting with a surrogate, or adopting infants and grown children— but through it all, there is one constant thing to remember: A family of any kind is still a family. With advances in reproductive healthcare options, there are now a variety of way that couples begin families.

Embryo Adoption and Donation

For couples that choose to work with fertility specialists and engage in IVF therapy, often more embryos end up frozen than the final successful pregnancy requires. Or, these families decided to preserve more embryos than they needed, for future family planning possibilities.

Due to advances in IVF technology, these loving families sometimes decide that they are happy to donate their unused embryos to those who might need them. These adopted embryos create new opportunities for family planning that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Embryos that were preserved decades in the past may now provide the perfect match for an expecting mother-in-need.

As IVF continues to increase in popularity, so are the numbers of families choosing to donate unused embryos. In large part, this is because families who have been through IVF, even with minimal difficulties, understand more than anyone what it means to successfully conceive.

Fertility specialists give these families the opportunity to freeze their unused embryos. Many donate directly after successfully completing their IVF regimen. Other mothers initially freeze some embryos in case they would like to conceive again in the future, and eventually decide to release them once they have achieved their family planning goals.

In either case, these embryos are put up for adoption with the intention of giving more mothers the opportunity to be parents.

When Is Embryo Adoption the Right Choice?

Embryo adoption is such a special advancement in technology and it is important because doctors can choose the best embryos and most viable embryos. This opens up many new possibilities for mothers.

For many, going through rounds of IVF without producing viable embryos leads them to the path of donation. For others, seemingly viable embryos turn out to lead to unexpected miscarriages. And for many mothers, their prognosis for successful IVF is detected as unlikely from the start.

For hopeful mothers who have experienced any of the above difficulties, embryo selection is the next step in the process of finding a way to have a natural born child. They can work with fertility specialists to choose the perfect embryo to match their health and genetic needs, greatly increasing their chances to conceive.

How Embryo Adoption Compares to Traditional Adoption

Whether mothers decide embryo adoption or traditional adoption are the right choice is entirely personal. There is no objective answer to this, because it is a decision families come to based on their personal values, emotional needs, and more.

Traditional adoption does not include the process of pregnancy and giving birth. For some mothers, this is incredibly important to experience.

There is also the issue of values. Depending on religious beliefs on the moment of conception, there might be some discomfort with the idea of IVF or attempting to carry a pregnancy from someone else’s embryo.

Hopeful mothers should consider their own beliefs and needs, and consult with their close family members to come to the right decision on embryo adoption.

It’s important to remember that there is no one way to grow a family. Adopting an infant, a child, or an embryo are choices that can be made with each child you intend to bring into your home.

What Goes Into Embryo Selection?

Embryos donated by IVF patients are known to be from a selection that led to a successful birth. Because of this, clinics don’t always engage in rigorous genetic testing and base their embryo adoption choices on the information from that previous case.

However, some providers offer genetic testing, either on request or as part of their standard procedure.

There are two common tests used in this case:

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis: This screens embryos for detectable genetic indicators associated with chronic diseases.

Preimplantation Genetic Screening: This is a series of tests to determine whether there are any genetic indicators that this particular embryo may prove difficult to carry to full term.

You can read more about both of these tests here, but it is a good idea to ask your reproductive specialist about these tests before starting your embryo adoption process.

If you are interested in a consultation, please make an appointment online and one of our New Patient Coordinators will be in touch with you to answer any questions you may have regarding your IVF journey.

Book your appointment online at or call our main office at (949) 453-8600. Dial (626) 388-6022 for Chinese 中文.

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Reproductive Fertility Center (RFC) was conceived to become an extension of your family, providing personalized support and guidance throughout your fertility journey. Click here to learn more.

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