Embryo adoption is a relatively new process in which couples who have frozen embryos in storage, that they do not plan on using to build their family, agree to release the embryos for transfer to an adoptive couple. The adopting family may be either known or unknown by the donating family. The intent is that the embryos will be transferred into the womb of the adoptive mother so that she and her husband may give birth to a child and be that child’s parents.
Embryo donation and adoption exist today because of an assisted reproductive technology procedure called in-vitro fertilization (IVF). The world’s first child conceived in vitro was born in Great Britain in 1978, and six years later, a technique was developed for freezing embryos. By freezing unused embryos, couples could have additional transfers at a later time without having to harvest and fertilize additional eggs. As IVF procedure success rates continued to increase, so did the number of frozen embryos.
The first embryo adoption was facilitated by Nightlife Christian Adoption in 1998. Nightlife coined the term “Snowflake” in reference to embryos because they are all frozen, unique, and created by God. Read more about the very first Snowflake baby here.
As of 2012, there were approximately 600,000 frozen embryos in storage facilities across the country. When the information was released, it made people question, “What will happen with all these embryos?” The answer to this question has only a few answers; embryos can be donated to research (stem cell research), embryos can be destroyed, embryos can continue to be frozen indefinitely while families wrestle with their fate, or anonymous donation to anonymous couples if you happen to be working with one of the select clinics that offer embryo donation.
Let’s take a look again at those 600,000 embryos who are being cryogenically preserved in storage facilities. Of these 600,000 embryos, approximately 77% are earmarked for couples that are still building their families. But as to the remaining 23%, their fate is unknown. Assuming a frozen transfer success rate of only 30%, these 138,000 embryos could result in the birth of more than 41,400 children. Original Source: Hopes Promise