Sometimes, it just doesn’t work. In order for infertility treatments to work, the basis is of course that the woman can produce healthy eggs and there is adequate quality sperm available. Of course, this is just the first step that is crucial to any fertility treatment. However, for some couples, it’s an insurmountable hurdle. Other couples may have both eggs and sperm, but they carry a serious genetic disease they don’t want to pass on to any offspring. For a long time, in such cases, a couple’s only chance to parenthood was adoption. Adoption is a beautiful way to start a family. However, the challenges that come with it may not be for everyone. But now, there is another option available: embryo adoption.
Usually, in an fertility treatments, many embryos are created and by far not all of them are being used. In the US, there are over 600 000 healthy embryos frozen. Some of them are being donated. Not only is this a cheaper option than domestic or international adoption, but the experience is a completely different one, both for the parents, as well as for the children.
In case of the adopting parents, the huge difference is that the woman can go through a pregnancy. This unique experience begins the bonding process and can guarantee a safe and healthy environment of the fetus during the pregnancy. The bonding process continues right after birth and the couple will be able to enjoy the pleasures and challenges of having a newborn in the house.
In case of the adopted child, the big difference is that he or she will not have to go through the trauma of separation. Cradled and loved from the first moment on, their first experience of the world can be one of warmth and love. Oftentimes, in case of a regular adoption, children experienced suboptimal or bad conditions both in the womb, as well as in their first months or years of life. This experience can leave them with a life-lasting trauma. In case of embryo adoption, this type traumatic experience does not take place.
So how does it work?
Once the donors and the adopters are matched by an agency or clinic, the woman will undergo an embryo transfer as in regular IVF. Although she will be given hormones to prepare her uterus for a pregnancy, the big difference to regular IVF is that she won’t have to undergo hyperstimulation of the ovaries. This means that many stimulation drugs used in IVF, such as Follistim, Menopur, Cetrotide or Lupron won’t be necessary in case of an embryo donation.
Two weeks after the embryo transfer, a blood test is performed in order to see if the embryo implanted.
This new type of adoption is not yet as common as it could be, but awareness is growing and more and more couples decide to start their family with the help of this option.