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Understanding Embryo Adoption

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Have you completed your family through in vitro fertilization (IVF)? Do you have frozen embryos in storage from those procedures?  There are currently over 600,000 frozen embryos in storage in the United States.  If you are one of the families with these embryos, you have several options available to you.  You can continue to keep them in storage indefinitely.  You can donate them to science.  You can destroy them.  OR you can donate them to a family wishing to have a family like your own.  There are many families who are unable to conceive a child naturally or through the use of fertility treatments.  Many have an undiagnosed reason for infertility or have other barriers, such as unhealthy eggs or sperm.  These families are good candidates for embryo adoption, and choose to build their family through the adoption of frozen embryos.  This adoption option allows families to experience the pregnancy and birth of their adopted child.

Lutheran Family and Children’s Services of Missouri (LFCS) has partnered with Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency’s Snowflake program to offer embryo donation and adoption services in Missouri. There is no cost for donor families who wish to donate their frozen embryos to another family.  The only cost the donor family must cover is the cost to keep the embryos frozen in storage, which they are likely already paying.  All other costs are covered by the recipient family.  The donor family is also able to choose how much openness they would like with the recipient family, should the family successfully give birth to a child.  Families can choose a totally open adoption, in which both parties know one another, have identifying information, and have direct contact with one another.   The donor family may also choose a more closed adoption, in which they do not have direct contact with the recipient family.  In embryo adoption, the match is a mutual decision, one in which both parties must agree.

Embryo adoption is governed by property law, and both the donor and recipient families must sign a contract created by Snowflakes that transfers the embryos from the donor family to the recipient family. The recipient family can then choose to have the Frozen Embryo Transfer occur at their fertility clinic or at the clinic where the embryos were originally created.

If you have completed your family and have frozen embryos in storage, and would like to discuss your options, please contact us at 866-326-5327 or at michelles@lfcs.org. We understand it is a difficult decision and are here to support you through the process!