Embryo Adoption

If a couple is unable to conceive using the female partner’s own eggs, they have a few options for creating a family. Donor eggs could be used with the male partner’s sperm, but this isn’t always an option, and may not be desired by some couples. The couple could also adopt a baby carried and delivered by another woman. However, the prospective mother may want to have the experience of pregnancy with her child.

Another option is embryo adoption. For some couples, this is the right choice to create their family. We have seen quite a few couples choose embryo adoption at our Tucson, AZ fertility clinic, serving Mesa, Phoenix, and surrounding communities.

What is embryo adoption?

During a cycle of IVF, more embryos are typically created than are transferred into the uterus. For couples who successfully have as many babies as they desire through IVF, there’s a choice about what to do with any remaining embryos. They can be discarded, donated to medical research, or offered for adoption. When a couple chooses to offer their embryos for adoption, other couples who have not been successful with IVF using their own embryos can choose to use them in their own IVF cycles.

What is the process for embryo adoption?

Several organizations exist that match couples who wish to donate their embryos to couples who wish to adopt embryos. If you’re a patient at our Mesa fertility clinic and you choose embryo adoption, we will help you get in touch with one of these groups.

The process is, in many ways, similar to the traditional adoption process. The donating parents receive information about couples who wish to adopt, and they select a couple who they believe is a good match. A home study must also be completed by the adoptive parents, so they can receive education about parenting an adopted child. Once a match is made, the embryos will be shipped to the clinic where the adoptive parents are being treated.

The prospective mother’s uterus will be made ready for implantation just as with any other IVF cycle. When the uterus is receptive, then the adopted embryo(s) will be thawed and transferred. If the embryos successfully implant, then the woman will be pregnant with the adopted child. She will then carry the pregnancy and deliver the baby. Although she gives birth to the child, she’s still an adoptive mother in the sense that she’s not genetically related to her child.

Why choose embryo adoption?

For some couples, the desire to experience pregnancy is strong. The prospective mother often wants to have the experience of carrying a baby within her body and then delivering that child. Pregnancy is, for many women, the most emotionally intense experience that they’ll ever have, and an infertile woman may not want to miss this experience. Her partner may have a similar desire to support her through pregnancy and be present for the delivery. Even if the infertile couple can’t become the genetic parents of their child, they may prefer embryo adoption over traditional adoption, because it still allows them the experience of pregnancy.

In some cases, if IVF with the couple’s own embryos has not succeeded, there might be an option of using donor eggs with the male partner’s sperm. However, it may feel uncomfortable for the partners to have the male partner be the genetic father of the child, while the female partner is not the genetic mother. They may prefer to have neither partner be genetically related to the child. There could also be genetic diseases in the male partner’s family that make the use of his sperm less desirable.

Whatever your reasons for choosing embryo adoption, if you feel this is the right way for you to create your family, we would be happy to help you achieve it. We see patients at our Mesa fertility clinic who choose embryo adoption for a variety of reasons, and we love to see the healthy families they start in this way.