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What are abandoned embryos from IVF treatment?

By Patricia Recuerda Tomás.
Last Update: 09/28/2021

In Assisted Reproduction clinics, when IVF treatment is performed, a number of embryos is obtained that may be more than the number of embryos that the woman or couple needs to have the number of children they want. These embryos are kept cryopreserved in the banks of the clinics until the patients decide what fate they want to give them, since they will not need them.

It may happen that a woman or couple does not want to maintain their embryos, ignoring the requirements of renewal of the destination that the clinic must make at least every 2 years (the woman or the progenitor couple is asked to renew or modify the signed consent). In this case we would be talking about abandoned embryos.

The solution that the law established to dispose of these embryos is that, if during two consecutive renewals it is impossible to obtain the signature of the corresponding consent from the woman or the progenitor couple, and the actions carried out with the aim of obtaining said renewal without obtaining the required response can be demonstrated in a reliable manner, the embryos will remain at the disposal of the clinic, the embryos shall remain at the disposal of the centres in which they are cryopreserved, which may use them according to their criteria for any of the purposes established by Law 14/2006, of 26th May, on assisted human reproduction techniques, maintaining the established requirements of confidentiality and anonymity, as well as being free of charge and non-profit-making.

Suggested for you: What Is the Fate of Unused IVF Embryos?.

 Patricia Recuerda Tomás
Patricia Recuerda Tomás
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Master’s Degree about the Theoretical Basis and Laboratory Procedures in Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Extensive experience working at several Assisted Reproduction laboratories.
License: 19882M
Embryologist. Bachelor's Degree in Biology from the University of Alcalá de Henares. Master’s Degree about the Theoretical Basis and Laboratory Procedures in Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Extensive experience working at several Assisted Reproduction laboratories. License: 19882M.