As IVF success rates have increased more patients find themselves with “extra” frozen embryos after completing their family. Patient options with regards to the disposition of their remaining embryos at our clinic include destroying them or choosing to donate them for use by other patients who have not been successful in having a baby using their own eggs/embryos.
However, there are only a small number of patients willing to donate them to this program. Given the limited number of embryos available the waiting list for treatment can be long and is determined by the number of embryos donated. At times the waiting list can be up to one or two years.
In order for embryo donors to be eligible for the program the female partner must have been 37 years of age or younger at the time of egg retrieval. The donating patients must complete a medical and genetic questionnaire to rule out genetic abnormalities for three generations. Both genetic parents complete infectious diseases screening and undergo appropriate counseling before the embryos are released to the donor program. Due to the potential genetic risks to babies conceived through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in men born with low sperm counts embryos from these patients are not accepted into the program.
Embryo donation in our clinic is primarily anonymous – identifying information concerning the donors and recipients is not disclosed. It is also possible for patients to directly donate embryos to persons that they know. This treatment is similar to anonymous donation but in these cases the donors and recipients know each other and receive special counseling. Patients who might otherwise be ineligible to donate to the anonymous program due to age, genetics and/or the use of ICSI may be able to donate their embryos directly to someone they know.
Only patients that have not been successful with IVF treatments at the Regional Fertility Program are eligible for enrollment in our embryo donation program. Female recipients must be 50 years or younger, be healthy and able to safely carry a pregnancy. Recipients must have not previously have had or cared for a dependent child/children together (biological, adopted or step children).
Testing on recipients prior to treatment include a normal pap smear, infectious disease screening and a recent uterine cavity examination by hydrosalpingogram (HSG) or sonohysterogram (SHG). The process of embryo donation in some ways is similar to adoption and a professional home study and police records check are required. The final step to be eligible for embryo donation is counseling for the recipients with our psychologist.
Patients enrolling in this program are gifted up to three embryo transfer cycles (of 1-2 thawed embryos) or until a live pregnancy occurs if earlier. Due to the scarcity of donated embryos, recipients are permitted to have only one child through this program.