Dangers of Waiting to Donate your Embryos

 

Headlines state, “Baby Born from Embryo Frozen for 27 Years.” We all read in awe, marveling over the circumstances that allowed this to happen. If you have frozen embryos in storage, this might be the moment you begin considering the possibility of donating your embryos to another couple.

You might now be thinking, “well, my embryos have only been frozen for 5 years, I have plenty of time!” Coming from years of experience in the embryo adoption field, we would encourage you to challenge this assumption. Although research shows that children can still be born from older embryos, the chances a fertility clinic will allow the embryos to be transferred are unpredictable.

One major roadblock that occurs when trying to donate older embryos is the receiving clinic’s willingness and ability to thaw and transfer them. The science behind thawing and freezing embryos is constantly changing, growing, and improving. This can make it difficult when embryologists attempt to thaw older embryos. Most embryos frozen before 2012 were frozen using a method called ‘slow-freezing.’ After 2012, most were frozen using ‘vitrification,’ which is much safer and more effective. Because of this shift in freezing methods, most clinics do not train their embryologists on slow-freezing anymore. This makes it difficult to find a clinic willing to thaw and transfer the embryos, even if a willing adopting family is found.

Another issue with waiting to donate your embryos is found in the lack of medical records prior to 2012. Many clinics tend to destroy records after 5-10 years, and others place records into long-term storage, which are then difficult to find. These medical records, including important embryology information, are essential in the donation process. Not having these important documents when attempting to donate your embryos can unfortunately be detrimental to success.

If you are contemplating donating your embryos, please consider these risks as they wait for their fate in frozen storage. They are the siblings to your children, and lives worth preserving and living. Don’t wait to give your embryos a chance at life!

By: Kaelah Hamman

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