Embryo Adoption: The First Steps

EmbryoAdoption_TheFirst Steps

Alrighty folks! It’s go time! After taking time to think and pray about embryo adoption we have decided what our first step will be.

Let me back up a bit here. I think the term “embryo” may be a bit confusing for many of you. If you haven’t had a crash course in infertility/IVF treatments it is easy to get confused at this juncture. An embryo is NOT the same thing as an egg. An embryo is actually a fertilized egg; it is life at the earliest stage. So… we are adopting some of those embryos. Embryo adoption is a fairly unknown practice as of now, but there are hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos in the United States, many of which are available to be adopted.

Back to where we left off… the first step: deciding how to find embryos to adopt. From my research I found that there are three different ways to adopt embryos.

Option 1: Through an office with an embryo donation program
Some doctors offer and embryo donation/adoption program. These are largely anonymous from what I can tell which would be a huge benefit if you want a closed adoption. I know of a woman who adopted through her office and had to wait for over a year on a wait list before embryos became available to her. One downside is that typically there is no choice in what embryos you would be able to adopt. If you do not like your match you could be placed on the bottom of the waiting list again. My office does not offer a program like this, so it isn’t an option at this time for us.

Option 2: Agency matching

This is likely the most popular route to match with donor families for embryo adoption. The most prominent organization I have seen is Nightlight Christian Adoption’s snowflake adoption program. This is a very reputable program and would definitely be an excellent choice for your embryo adoption journey. The downside is the cost is more expensive (however less than IVF) and you are required to do a home study. This agency will ship the embryos to your home clinic though, so travel is not required. Another benefit is that almost all couples hoping to adopt are matched in a time frame of one to four months. Much less than the one year wait mentioned above. And you get 3 choices of families to pick from!

A second agency I looked in to is the National Embryo Donation Center located in Nashville, TN. This is again a reputable agency, and was actually recommended to me by my office when I told them I want to pursue embryo adoption. Their website wasn’t as forthcoming regarding the matching process, but I’m sure this would be a good option for some people. It is slightly expensive, with the base price being $7500 PLUS additional fees that would add up to several thousand more. Unfortunately, this agency does require you to travel to their facility for the initial consultation and embryo transfer. Other factors to consider are age requirements (must not be older than 45, must be married for three years, and you only have three attempts at achieving a pregnancy.)

Option 3: Private matching
Because of the high prices associated with using agencies, some women have created websites similar to match.com to assist families in finding their own matches.

The National Registry for Adoption is one website that assists in that process. The website costs about $50 to join with a monthly fee of $30. Very reasonable all things considering.  The website is laid out very well and easy to navigate. My favorite part of the site was that you could look at donor profiles without paying to join the site, you just couldn’t contact them. Once you join the site you can contact donors to discuss potential donation/adoption.

Miracles Waiting is another self-matching site. It costs a one time fee of $150 to join the site. I must say that was enticing in case a match was not made right away. The site was very private, so you couldn’t access any user information without joining.

After weighing the pros and cons of these options…
We decided to move forward with Miracles Waiting! Ultimately we decided on Miracles Waiting because it was just a one time fee, and we couldn’t see what embryos were available without joining. We had been checking the National Registry for Adoption website and didn’t see anyone we wanted to connect with right off the bat. $150 is truly nothing compared to what we have already spent, so it wasn’t much to lose if we didn’t like the site.

I know this is a ton of information so if you have more questions let me know! I’m excited to share our opinion about  Miracles Waiting, making our profile, and maybe even finding a match!

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