What is embryo donation?
Some couples who undergo IVF treatment may have remaining frozen embryos, patiently waiting to fulfill their potential. However, not every couple requires all of their embryos to complete their family. This is where the magic of embryo donation comes into play. By selflessly donating their remaining embryos, these incredible couples create an opportunity for another couple or woman to experience the incredible journey of parenthood.
Socially, it is a bit more complex than other donor treatments because donation often results in full siblings, forging an unbreakable bond between two families – the recipient's and the donor's family.
Most of the work associated with embryo donation involves preparation of donors and recipients for the key ethical issues they might have to contend with. They are:
- minimising any potential harm to children involved
- children having information about their genetic origins and their siblings
- ensuring everyone is fully informed about the psychological, social and ethical issues before they go ahead, so there are no regrets or surprises later.
Regulation of embryo donation
Embryo donation requires an application to ECART. ECART has set rules around who can consider embryo donation and who can receive the donated embryo. Because of the ethical issues, embryo donation has some extra requirements beyond what is needed for sperm or egg donation. For instance;
- The donors and recipients have joint counselling where they meet each other, and children may need to be included in counselling in a way that is appropriate to their age.
- Recipients need to have a police check in the same way as before adoption. The donors will be able to see the police check, although the recipients’ names will be removed.
- Like other types of donation, there is also screening for sexually transmissible diseases, and disclosure about the donors’ health and the health of their children.
The journey to donating your embryos
Throughout our clinics, we offer a comprehensive and supportive process helping you to donate. Here's a look into our step-by-step journey:
- Start by contacting us to inquire about donating or receiving embryos. We're here to answer all your questions and guide you through the process.
- Book a counselling appointment for an initial discussion. Our expert counsellors will provide valuable insights and support to help you make informed decisions.
- As recipients, attending our education and preparation sessions is crucial. These sessions, held regularly at Orangi Tamariki Adoption Services, will equip you with essential knowledge about raising a child who is not genetically related to you.
- Consent to a police check is an important step for both donors and recipients. Ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties involved is our top priority.
- Our clinic will then apply to the Ministry of Justice for a copy of the police check, ensuring a thorough screening process.
- Donors and recipients will complete a non-identifying profile, which will be forwarded to our dedicated counsellor. Rest assured, your privacy is of utmost importance to us.
- A second counselling appointment will be scheduled to delve deeper into the issues involved and review the profiles. We're here to address any concerns and ensure a comfortable and transparent experience.
- Donor couples will have a medical appointment with a Fertility Associates doctor. This step includes checking medical history and completing infection screening.
- Recipients will also have a medical appointment to assess their health and physical suitability for treatment. We prioritize your well-being throughout the process.
- Our team will coordinate donor and recipient requests, ensuring smooth communication and understanding between all parties involved.
If you are thinking about donating embryos, the donor needs to pay for the initial counselling consultation. After that, the costs are covered by the potential recipient. To find out more please read helpful links below or contact your local clinic.
Further info and FAQs for embryo donors
How long does the donation process take?
Embryo donation is a complex process that may take 6–9 months to complete.
Do donors have to undergo treatment?
Apart from tests, the medical consultation and counselling, there is no medical treatment for the donors.
Are there any costs for donors?
If you are thinking about donating embryos, you’ll need to pay for the initial counselling consultation and the embryo storage fee until the consent form for embryo donation is signed . After that, the costs are covered by the potential recipient.