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Embryo Donation

In addition, there are two types of embryos that can be donated: frozen embryos and created embryos. Frozen embryos come from infertile couples who have used IVF and have spare embryos to give to other infertile couples. In a typical IVF treatment, approximately 12 embryos are created, but only three of them are implanted at once. Considering there are more than 100,000 IVF treatments done each year in the U.S., there are a lot of excess embryos. Embryo creation, on the other hand, involves using both a donated egg and donated sperm by mixing them together to create an embryo.

All donated embryos undergo diagnostic screening before they are transferred. They are frozen and quarantined for six months to ensure they test negative for infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV. They also undergo genetic testing to reduce the chances of genetic diseases or chromosomal defects. The embryo transfer procedure is considered extremely safe.

Good candidates

You and your partner may be good candidates for receiving a donor embryo if: * You are both infertile - You have a uterus, but your ovaries do not produce eggs due to premature menopause; you have had your ovaries removed as a result of cancer, endometriosis or pelvic infection; your ovaries have been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation as treatment for cancer; you were born without functioning ovaries or your ovaries are resistant to hormones. Your partner has either a very low sperm count or no sperm due to vasectomy, testicular damage by chemotherapy or radiation as treatment for cancer or has been born without functioning testicles.

You are at a high risk of passing on genetic disorders to your children - You have a sex-linked disease, such as hemophilia, or you have had recurrent pregnancy loss due to chromosomal abnormalities.

  • You have been unsuccessful with other forms of ART - Several cycles have failed due to poor response to fertility drug stimulation or poor egg quality. If you are over 35 and you have poorly functioning ovaries with a slim chance of achieving pregnancy using your own eggs, you may be a good candidate for receiving a donated embryo if your partner is infertile.
  • You might also consider embryo donation if you cannot afford or pursue adoption, or if you cannot afford more expensive fertility treatments.

Finding a donor

Many fertility clinics offer embryo donation for a registration fee of around $200. After you sign up, your doctor will review your medical and family history and perform a physical exam to be sure your body is prepared to support a pregnancy.

Once you have been evaluated and accepted into the program, you and your partner will meet with a counselor to discuss the psychological issues that go along with embryo donation. The counselor will want to make sure you and your partner understand that you will be the legal parents of the child although you will not be genetically related. You will also discuss the cost of treatment and the decision as to whether to tell your child how he or she was conceived. You should consider the possible outcome of the treatment and the likelihood that you may not get pregnant, as well as the possibility of a multiple pregnancy and the side effects of medication.

Once you have completed the counseling process, you will be matched with a suitable donor from the clinic's list of registered donors according to your ethnic background and physical characteristics. You will likely be asked to choose more than one donor so that you have at least six possible embryos to use during transfer.

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