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Embryo Donor FAQ

Why might a couple consider the option of embryo donation?

Embryo Donation offers the chance for life, hope, and a family for the embryo. For the donating couple, there is the satisfaction of choosing a life-affirming option and the joy from helping an infertile couple potentially achieve the miracle of becoming parents.

Can donors select the future family?

Yes. Unlike many medical practices that offer embryo donation, the National Fertility Support Center (NFSC) allows a full array of choices, from confidential to totally open participation. Donors may select a family based on preferred characteristics, or they may choose the recipient family from non-identifying family profiles.The NFSC follows a policy of disclosure, which includes providing the donors with a written profile of the recipient family that may or may not include identifying information, based on family preferences.

Can donors choose to remain anonymous?

Yes. The NFSC offers a full range of openness and relationship options, with the donors' preference taking first priority. Donors may choose a recipient family that meets their characteristic preferences and is likeminded about communication.  And, donors may choose to review family profiles of potential recipients.

Is there a cost for couples to donate their embryos?

The donating couple has no costs. Recipient parents pay for all expenses associated with blood work and medical testing that may be required by the FDA, necessary medical consultation, and the embryos' transfer to the recipient family's medical facility. Recipient parents also pay for any laboratory storage fees that may occur between the time the donation application was accepted and the release of the embryos for donation.

What medical testing may be required of the donating couple?

The FDA requires blood testing to screen and prevent the possible spread of any potential communicable disease. The required blood testing may include: antibodies to HIV I and HIV II; antibodies to HTLV I and II; Hepatitis; HbsAG; antibodies to hepatitis B and C; E core antibody; Syphilis, VDRL, and/or FTA; blood type; and Rh factor. Additional testing may be deemed medically necessary by the recepient or donor couple's medical doctor.

Do donors receive any payment for their embryos?

No. However, donors may be reimbursed for any costs incurred related to blood work that may be required of the donors prior to donation. Donors may also be reimbursed for laboratory storage costs between the time of the donation application acceptance and the matching and physical transfer of the embryos to the future family's medical facility or care.

Does the NFSC place limits on accepting embryos for donation based on the length of time that they have remained frozen?

Healthy children have been born from embryos that were frozen for more than 12 years. The NFSC accepts embryos for donation regardless of how long they have been in a cryopreserved state.

Does the NFSC limit the embryos accepted for donation based on their medical grading status or the stage of their development?

Based on the experience of the medical teams with which the NFSC works, embryos of different stages, ages, and grades have resulted in successful pregnancies and healthy births. Therefore, the NFSC accepts all donated embryos regardless of age, medical grading status, or stage of development. The NFSC will attempt to locate a recipient family for every embryo, regardless of a potential or known health status. During the selection process, The NFSC discloses to potential recipient families any known information regarding the embryos' health, grading, or stage status.

What if donor sperm or donor eggs were used to create the embryos?

The NFSC accepts embryos created with donor sperm and/or eggs. Certain medical requirements may be necessary to safeguard against communicable diseases. Blood testing and/or records of such testing related to a donor may be required before a donation can occur. The NFSC follows a disclosure policy regarding the information that is provided to the recipient family and related to the genetic and medical history of the embryo(s).

Why is a donor profile requested?

A donor profile provides non-identifying information (unless direct openness is agreed to) related to the donors' social, educational, professional, medical, and family history. It includes information related to gifts and talents and physical (i.e., hair and eye color) and personality characteristics. This information is helpful for both the recipient parents and (in the future) for any child who is born because it provides a thorough genetic history.

Is it possible for donors to write a letter to the recipient parents and/or any future child(ren) who may be born?

A personalized letter is always welcome and helpful. It allows the donors to share information about why they chose to make a donation decision. Because most donation decisions involve a deep sense of care and feelings of love for the child, letters offer an opportunity to address current and possible future questions. As with traditional infant adoption, letters received from a birthparent are often highly valued and deeply appreciated by both recipient parents and (later) any resulting children.

What kind of contact is possible with the Recipients following a pregnancy or the birth of our child?

Based on the wishes of both the donors and recipients, the amount of contact could vary based on individual agreement. Some families will choose to remain in frequent contact and may enjoy sharing the progress of a pregnancy as well as the child's growth and development following birth. This contact could consist of exchanged letters, e-mail, phone calls, pictures, etc. Information could also be exchanged directly, through confidential mediums, such as public blog sites of which each party has knowledge. Exchanges of information and contact could also occur through an intermediary, such as the NFSC. Some families choose to provide communication through written updates and pictures that are sent for inclusion in the file for possible sharing and distribution at a later date.

 For information about the process of donating your embryos, click here.