Embryo donation or embryo adoption?

  1.  Stop & Start

    Hello ladies, I’ve noticed lately that some women on the internet complain about the use of “embryo adoption”, but I don’t see the difference except that they should be used depending on whether you are the donor or the recipient. If I were the donor, I’d say embryo donation, as I’m the one donating my embryos; if I were the recipient, I’d say I’m adoption an embryo. I don’t see anything wrong with that, but if it’s so annoying for some of you, please take some time to clarify what’s your concern. Thx xx

    May 1, 2016 at 1:08 pm
    #9340 Reply
  2. Sandra F. Sandra F.
    inviTRA's Moderator


    It is true that the terms “embryo adoption” and “embryo donation” are commonly used interchangeably, but the truth is, they are not exactly the same. In this sense, three terms should be explained: 1) adoption, 2) donation, and 3) cryopreserved embryos.

    By “adoption”, in general, we make reference to the creation of a parent-child relationship, always by judicial order, between two parties. Such parties are usually unrelated, and it creates a parent-child relation between people that are not biologically related.

    The term “donation” refers, conversely, to a voluntary gift made with altruistic purposes and to some worthwhile cause. It is commonly associated to charity, and it’s the action of making a free contribution, without expecting anything in return.

    And what about “cryopreserved embryos”? Well, they are the result of fertilizing a human egg and a human sperm through in vitro fertilization (IVF). The unused embryos, that is, those embryos that haven’t been transferred to the woman’s uterus are frozen in liquid nitrogen. Such embryos are owned by the parents from whom genetic material came from. And they are the ones who can decide about their fate, which can be:

    -Having additional children
    -Destroying them
    -Donating them to science
    -Giving them to other patients

    The latter is a common option, but it is a donation, and therefore reimbursement is not involved. Some US states allow for it, but it is rather uncommon, since it is just a donation. Besides, an “adoption” can only be granted by the Court following the birth of a child, and that’s why the use of “embryo adoption” is incorrect.

    In the case of embryo donation, the procedure does not involve the courts, and it’s managed through private contracts. This is the reason why “embryo adoption” and “embryo donation” is not the same.

    Some experts remark that those who use the term “embryo adoption” do it in an attempt to afford full moral, ethical and legal rights of personhood to the embryo. Moreover, if an embryo was given these rights of personhood, the fertility clinic embryologist could be held accountable for manslaughter in case, for instance, embryo thawing is unsuccessful, the embryos cannot be recovered, etc.

    I hope I have been able to help,

    Best wishes

    May 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm
    #9342 Reply