What is embryo donation?
In the current practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF), some patients may create more embryos (fertilized eggs) than they have. The extra embryos may be cryopreserved (frozen) so that they undergo transfer later. However, sometimes these embryos may not be used. These patients can discard, donate to research or donate to another woman to achieve pregnancy.
What is the Embryo Donation Process?
Embryo donation is a third party donation. In the embryo donation process, a few will receive a non-autologous embryo. It means that the recipient will not have any connection with either the egg or the sperm donor. You are embracing a fertilized and frozen embryo, where both the egg and sperm come from unrelated donors.
IVF methods are adopted to create an embryo from a donor egg and donor sperm. The fertilized embryo undergoes implantation within the uterus of the recipient woman. The child belongs to the mother who delivers the baby. The principle followed is that the same as that involved in sperm or egg donation. Embryo donation is an anonymous process to guard the privacy of all the parties involved.
Who receives donated embryos?
Donated Embryos can be got by:
• A woman with untreatable infertility
• Both partners with untreatable infertility
• A woman with recurrent pregnancy loss thought to be related to the embryo
• Genetic disorders affecting one or both partners
How are the embryos screened for disease?
The FDA has strict guidelines for the testing of people who are donating embryos. At the time of donation, the donors should provide a detailed medical history and tested for diseases like HIV, hepatitis, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia. However, as most embryos donated were intended to be used by the people who created them. The embryo donation can happen as long as the recipients are aware of the risks.
How should recipients be evaluated?
Evaluation of the recipients is analogous to patients undergoing routine IVF. It should include a comprehensive medical history from both partners, including blood type and Rh factor, and testing for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis. Recipients undergo counselling by a psychological state professional about the complexity to use donor embryos. The recipient should have a pelvic exam and an assessment of her uterus (womb). If she is over 45 years old, a more thorough evaluation should be done, including assessing heart function and risk of pregnancy-related diseases. She may also have to see a doctor who specializes in high-risk pregnancy.
Is counselling necessary?
Both the donor and recipient take up counselling by mental health professionals regarding the complexity of the decision to donate and receive embryos. This consultation includes the details of the release of donor information and a discussion about future contact between donors and the children resulting from their donated embryo. The recipients undergo counselling about issues concerning non-biologic parentage, disclosure or nondisclosure to the potential children.
What are the legalities of donor embryo usage?
Recipients should seek legal counsel from a lawyer specializing in family issues. This lawyer should be conversant in state laws regarding the parentage of transferred embryos during pregnancy and after birth. The recipient accepts full responsibility for the pregnancy. The recipient is solely liable for any complications of the embryo donation.
How successful is embryo donation at achieving pregnancy?
Success rates with embryo donation depend on the quality of the embryos, the time frozen, the age of the woman who provided the eggs and the number of embryos transferred.
What about the Baby?
Letting your child realize their biological parents remain in embryo donation, a bit like in traditional adoptions. The parents must understand all the emotional complications involved in the process before committing to it.