August 21, 2023

Embryo Adoption 101


Embryo adoption through the Snowflakes Program offers a beautiful opportunity for families with adoption in their hearts to welcome a child into their home, providing a chance for life. Let's delve into the fundamentals of embryo adoption.

Embryo adoption entails the transfer of embryos donated by individuals or couples who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) and possess surplus embryos they no longer plan to use. These embryos find matches with couples eager to expand their family.

The Process

Prospective adoptive parents typically begin by exploring the Snowflakes website and engaging in a conversation with a Snowflakes Inquiry Specialist. Similar to other adoption processes, embryo adoption requires a home study, often fulfilled through a Snowflakes Family Evaluation (SFE).

Matching: The matching process involves preferences from placing families, adopting families, and the Snowflakes Referral Clinic where the Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) takes place. Once a match is identified and approved by the placing family, adoptive parents can review the placing family's profile and medical history before deciding to accept or decline the match.

Legal and Ethical Considerations: Embryo adoption is governed by property law, necessitating legal contracts between placing and adoptive parents. Collaboration with professionals well-versed in the legal and ethical aspects is crucial. Ethically, Snowflakes Embryo Adoption strives to keep sibling groups together.

Embryo Transfer: The embryos are transported to the referral clinic and transferred to the adoptive mother's uterus through a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) procedure. The number of embryos transferred is determined in consultation with the Reproductive Endocrinologist.

Pregnancy and Parenthood: Following a successful transfer, the adoptive mother experiences the joys of pregnancy and childbirth, leading to parenthood.

The Benefits

A Path to Parenthood: Couples facing infertility or reproductive challenges can experience pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood through embryo adoption.

Genetics: Embryo adoption is an option for couples dealing with known genetic issues, providing a way to build a family without passing on problematic genetics.

Cost-Effective: Compared to other fertility treatments, embryo adoption is often more cost-effective, as adoptive parents receive embryos rather than undergoing the entire IVF process.

Ethical and Life-Affirming: Embryo adoption offers a life-affirming choice, allowing remaining embryos the chance to develop into healthy children rather than facing other alternatives.

Considerations and Challenges

Emotional Complexity: Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared for emotional challenges, such as navigating the concept of a child genetically related to another couple.

Communication: Anonymity is no longer assumed, emphasizing the importance of ongoing communication between adoptive and placing families.

Embryo Availability: Availability may vary, with waitlists or limited options. Snowflakes, however, provides excellent matches without waitlists and emphasizes keeping sibling sets together.

Snowflakes Embryo Adoption has been supporting placing and adopting families for over 25 years, offering a unique and fulfilling journey toward parenthood. For more information, visit or fill out the Inquiry Form to connect with our staff.

By Paige Zapf

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