October 13, 2020

Adopting Embryos Created with an Anonymous Donor

Embryo adoption, despite being in existence for over two decades, can pose some significant challenges for individuals navigating this unique form of adoption. However, when one considers the perspective that life begins at conception, embryo adoption emerges as a remarkably beautiful means of expanding one's family while rescuing embryos from a frozen state.

In the initial stages of the embryo adoption process, adopting couples often begin to form their own idea of the background of their future embryos. What may surprise many is the realization that nearly 50% of donated embryos are crafted through donor egg or sperm.

It is crucial for adopting families to empathize with the embryo donor's decision-making process. The yearning to build a family can be incredibly emotional, especially when conventional methods (such as three rounds of IVF) yield no success, prompting consideration of using a donor egg or sperm. Many infertile couples embark on this path with a resounding "YES" to egg and/or sperm donation.

There are pros and cons when considering embryos created with donor genetics:


  1. Due to the average age of the donor, these embryos often exhibit increased viability for achieving pregnancy.
  2. Donors undergo careful screening for genetic, medical, and psychological issues.
  3. The fertility clinic provides a donor profile as part of the matching process, offering valuable information.


  1. Discovering the identity of the donor can be challenging, as anonymity remains prevalent in the ART world.
  2. The donor's health history is not updated post the time of the donation.


Special considerations to bear in mind during the adoption of embryos created with a donor include:

  1. Understanding Embryo Donor's Motivations: Delve into the motivations of the embryo donors. Reflect on your own journey with grief surrounding fertility challenges and family-building expectations.
  2. Choice Regarding Anonymous Donors: Recognize that you have the option to refrain from adopting embryos created with anonymous donors, although this choice may extend the matching time.
  3. Building a Solid Foundation: As a parent, it is your responsibility to construct a healthy foundation for your child by sharing their complete story. Avoid letting your child learn about their beginnings from external sources.
  4. Utilizing Resources: Explore available resources that can assist you in explaining to your child the intricacies of their origins.

It's beneficial for both embryo adoptive and embryo donor families to explore and process the emotional dimensions associated with these considerations. By doing this adoptive families will have an easier time navigating the complexities of embryo adoption with sensitivity and understanding. To learn more about embryo embryo adoption and donation at Snowflakes.org.

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