August 21, 2023

Embryo Adoption 101


It is also a beautiful way for adoption-hearted families to bring a child or children into their home by providing them with an opportunity for life. Let's explore the basics of embryo adoption through the Snowflakes program:

The general idea

Embryo adoption involves the transfer of embryos donated by couples or individuals who have undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF) and have remaining embryos they no longer need or plan to use. These embryos are matched with couples who desire to have a child.

The Process

Prospective adoptive parents typically start by researching the Snowflakes website and having a conversation with a Snowflakes Inquiry Specialist. Embryo Adoption, just like other forms of adoption, requires a home study. Most families complete a Snowflakes Family Evaluation (SFE).

Matching: The matching process is threefold. Placing (or donating) families have preferences, adopting families outline their preferences in an Orientation conversation, and the Snowflakes Referral Clinic where you will have your Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET), also has preferences. Once a match has been identified, and the placing family has given their approval, adoptive parents can explore the placing family’s profile, medical history and topline embryo report to decide if they accept or deny the match.

Legal and Ethical Considerations: Property law governs embryo adoption and involves legal contracts between the placing (or donating) and adoptive parents. It is crucial to work with professionals well-versed in the legal and ethical aspects of embryo adoption to ensure a smooth and secure process. Furthermore, from an ethical perspective, Snowflakes Embryo Adoption works diligently to keep the group of siblings together. This follows the best practices of adoption. When you adopt Snowflakes Embryos, you match with the entire sibling set.

Embryo Transfer: The embryos ship to the referral clinic and are transferred to the adoptive mother's uterus in a procedure called a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET).  The adoptive parents will have a conversation with the Reproductive Endocrinologist about whether one or two embryos are transferred at the same time.

Pregnancy and Parenthood: Following a successful transfer, the adoptive mother carries the baby to term, experiencing the joys of pregnancy and childbirth.

The Benefits

A Path to Parenthood: Embryo adoption provides an opportunity to couples struggling with infertility or other reproductive challenges to experience pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood.

Genetics: When couples struggle with a known genetic issue or have had recurrent miscarriages, embryo adoption provides a way to build your family without passing along problematic or life threatening genetics.

Cost-Effective: Embryo adoption is often more cost-effective than other fertility treatments, including creating embryos with donor egg and/or sperm, since the embryo adoptive parents are adopting embryos rather than creating embryos and undergoing the entire process of IVF themselves.

Ethical and Life-Affirming Choice: Embryo adoption offers a unique way to give remaining embryos the opportunity to develop into healthy children rather than being discarded, donated to science, or frozen indefinitely.

Considerations and Challenges

Emotional Complexity: Embryo adoption can involve emotional challenges, such as grappling with the notion of having a child who is genetically related to another couple. Prospective adoptive parents should be prepared to navigate these emotions and seek appropriate support. Snowflakes Embryo Adoption is unique in its approach to educate, resource and support families throughout the lifetime of their adopted children.

Communication: We are no longer in a world where anonymity can be expected. Therefore, it is important for adoptive parents to understand and develop a plan about ongoing communication with the placing family. It is essential to consider personal preferences, the long-term wellbeing of your children, and establish clear expectations with all adult parties involved. This is one of the many reasons Snowflakes requires a home study. Education regarding communication and helping your child understand their genetic origins sets families up for success.

Embryo Availability: The availability of embryos for adoption can vary. Prospective parents may encounter waitlists or limited options as they are exploring self-matching or clinic donation programs.  Snowflakes embryo adoption agency does not have a wait list and provides excellent matches. A strong foundation in Snowflakes is keeping the sibling set of embryos together, thereby providing couples a chance to have genetic siblings if they so desire.


Snowflakes Embryo adoption has come alongside placing and adopting families for over 25 years thereby opening doors to a unique and fulfilling journey towards parenthood. To learn more, visit or fill out our Inquiry Form to speak with one of our staff.

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