In the last decades, the improvements in the assisted reproduction techniques have helped many families to achieve their pregnancy desires, even in those couples that had lost hope. Among the most innovative and effective improvements in the assisted reproduction techniques, the embryo, sperm and eggs freezing and their subsequent donation, can be included.

In the past, many women or men decided to freeze their sperm or eggs before undergoing a medical treatment that could alter their fertility, so they could use them in the future and have their own babies. However, this technique has become more popular and young couples are deciding to freeze their embryos for many reasons.

Although most experts say that embryo freezing is an excellent option for fertile couples that need or desire to postpone pregnancy, when they have satisfied their reproduction desires and have completed their families, they must decide what to do with the remaining frozen embryos.

The good news is that many couples are deciding to donate their remaining embryos to other families that can't create an embryo with their own sperm and eggs, which benefits both the genetic parents and the recipient ones.

What is an Embryo Donation?

The embryo donation, also called embryo adoption, is defined by the experts as the transfer process of a human embryo that was obtained by In-Vitro fertilization (please follow the link to read more on In-Vitro Fertilization) to the uterus of an adoptive mother (single or with a partner).

An important advantage of embryo donation over traditional adoption is the fact that the recipient woman or couple have the opportunity of living the pregnancy process.

Who Can Benefit From an Embryo Donation?

Embryo donation is an excellent option for couples who are worried because one of them (or even both) are infertile, couples that have a high risk of passing a genetic disease to their children (demonstrated with genetic tests), couples that have tried many sessions of IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) with their own embryos without success, patients who can't pay the cost of an IVF procedure or other assisted reproduction techniques, couples who don't want to live the process of adopting a born baby, among others.

What Must the Donor Couple Do In an Embryo Donation?

The donor couple must fill an anonymous medical information file to determine if they can be donors and to obtain the information that can demonstrate the compatibility with the recipient couple or woman.

The couple must undergo certain blood tests (especially hormonals) to establish a plan of treatment. The donor woman must undergo a hormonal treatment that involves periodic injections to stimuli the oocytes to mature. Once the oocytes have reached a proper size and maturity degree, the woman must undergo an ovarian puncture. This procedure is performed under sedation, so the patient doesn't feel any pain or discomfort.

On the other hand, on the day of the ovarian puncture, the man provides a sperm sample to the doctors. After that, the oocyte of the donor woman is fertilized with the sperm of the donor man through In-Vitro Fertilization and the embryos obtained from the procedure are freeze until a compatible recipient couple or woman appears.

What Must the Recipient Couple Do in an Embryo Donation?

The preparation of the recipient woman in an embryo donation is pretty easy. The woman must complete a hormonal treatment with periodic injections to prepare the uterus (especially the endometrium) to receive the donated embryo.

When donation will be "in vivo", both the donor and the recipient woman must synchronize their hormonal treatments to perform the embryo transfer without freezing them. On the other hand, when the donation will be from freezing embryos, the woman can choose the best moment to start the hormonal treatment and shouldn't be synchronized with the donor woman's treatment.

It is very important to remember that both donor and recipient couples must know the laws of their countries about embryo donation before undergoing the procedure.

How Much does an Embryo Donation Cost?

The cost of an embryo donation is widely variable according to the characteristics and needs of the donors and the recipients. The specific process that will be used to fertilize the egg and create the embryo, the need of genetic tests, the ease or difficulty to find a compatible couple donor-receptor, the embryo's storage costs, whether the costs include legal fees or not, among others, are factors that can alter the final cost of the procedure.

However, in general terms, an embryo donation is cheaper when compared to a domestic or international adoption. So, if you are thinking about undergoing an embryo donation or want to know more about the procedure, please contact us at and we will gladly answer all your questions and look for the best specialist in your area.



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