About :: Embryo Adoption

Our Views
"Because a person is a person, no matter how small" - Dr. Seuss

An Angels Gift values the sanctity of life. We believe that every embryo has a face and deserves a chance at life and we ask our intended parents not to destroy their unused embryos.

In cases of IVF, embryo destruction is rare. Most times intended parents wish to use all of their embryos for sibling projects. AAG fully supports this. However, when a decision must be made regarding excess embryos because you feel your family planning is complete we simply ask that you consider alternatives to embro destruction.

It is important to understand that neither the Agency or your selected Donor can tell you what to do with your remaining embryos. Contractually, the embryos are referred to as the property of the Intended Parents. In addition to this, your embryos are protected by HIPAA law. Thereby, any decision you make regarding your unused embryos is between you and your doctor. AAG will not get involved in any personal decisions you make regarding your family planning. Our AIM is simply to provide information regarding positive alternatives to embryo destruction.

History

Medical advancements in science as they relate to third party reproduction have brought about many life changing opportunities for families who were unable to have children by conventional methods. Alongside these advancements however, come numerous ethical concerns. One of the difficult questions couples find themselves faced with is deciding what to do with their remaining embryos.

As more and more couples turn to IVF the number of unused embryos increases. Estimates suggest that the current number of cryopreserved embryos in America is an alarming 500,000.

Couples now have numerous options they can consider as alternatives to discarding their embryos. One of these options is to allow their clinic to donate the remaining embryos to another couple. Another promising alternative parents may choose is to give their embryos up for adoption*.

Unlike embryo donation, an embryo adoption* mimic's traditional adoption in that the biological parents can chose the couple who will adopt their embryos. Agencies like NightLight’s Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption program give the genetic family the peace of mind of knowing that they are handpicking the family that will raise their children. Much like a traditional adoption the adoptive family will undergo a home study, educational classes of parenting an adopted child, and are pre-screened for a criminal history and child abuse record. In addition many programs like Snowflakes® offer to arrange for open communication between the genetic and adopting parents (as much as both parties are comfortable with).

For FAQ and more information about Snowflakes® you can download their Fact Sheet or visit their website. For a list of other Embryo Adoption Agencies, please visit http://www.embryoadoption.org.

Intended Parent's Roll

So what does all of this mean to you, the prospective parent? In its simplest form it means that we ask you to sign a good faith agreement which is addressed in your agency contract stating that you will not discard unused embryos (if any), donate them to scientific research, or selectively reduce any existing pregnancies. In doing so you are giving us your word that you have every intention to fulfill this promise. However, it is important to note that An Angel’s Gift cannot and will not hold you legally liable for any decisions you make regarding your unused embryos or your decision to selectively reduce any existing pregnancies (hence the term ‘good faith’).

An Angel’s Gift will not discriminate on the method you choose to save your embryos. This is a very personal decision that will be left up to you and your partner since this choice needs to adhere to what you deem to be best for your family and future offspring. The decision to allow another family to give birth to, and raise, your biological offspring is not one to be taken lightly and should be discussed in depth with your partner and counselor.

Egg Donor’s Roll

Embryo and excess ova disposition will be addressed in your contract with your egg donor and explained in detail to her by her legal counsel. She has the right to request that her written consent be obtained prior to any excess ova or embryos being donated for reproductive purposes but this must be negotiated and agreed to by the intended parents. An Angel’s Gift cannot advise either party on such matters.

Disposition of Genetic Material

In general we prefer that a donor’s genetic material not be distributed to more than six families. In cases where embryo adoption* or donation would increase this number we would like to be made aware of the recipients’ location and any resulting pregnancies. This information allows us to keep all recipient families (when possible) informed of resulting children for their own awareness.

Note

AAG does not facilitate embryo adoptions or donations. Embryo donation facilitation and FDA screening compliance is the responsibility of the intended parents as well as any financial obligations that may exist between the clinic, storage facility, and potential recipients. AAG may, however, assist with records transfers for any required documents necessary to facilitate the embryo donation that the intended parents may not possess for whatever reason.

Terminology

* Legally an embryo is contractually referred to as property. Only a born person can be adopted and adhere to the definition of adoption as would be outlined in a contract.

Therefore, the term ‘adoption’ as used in this website in conjunction with embryos is not a legal term but is used to portray a concept. Giving embryos to another family can mimic the process of traditional adoption in that the biological parents can choose the couple who will receive their embryos.

Furthermore, agencies like Nightlight’s Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption program require the recipient family to undergo a home study, educational classes of parenting an adopted child, and are pre-screened for a criminal history and child abuse records. In addition, Snowflakes® will arrange for open communication between the genetic family and adopting parents (as much as both parties are comfortable with).

Snowflakes® is a registered trademark of Nightlight® Christian Adoptions