Embryo Adoption Frequently Asked Questions

What is the American Embryo Adoption Agency (AEAA)?

The American Embryo Adoption Agency is an affiliate program offered by the Center for Reproductive Health in Nashville, TN.  The program offers patients the opportunity for an embryo transfer with many different options using high quality blastocysts.


I am single but would love to be a parent, can your program help me?

Yes. The American Embryo Adoption Agency makes no judgement based on marital status, sexual preference, income, race, etc. We believe every individual should be given the opportunity to be a parent.


How many embryos do I get?

The program offers patients the opportunity to use one embryo at a time. Patients will discuss the chances of the program and risks with the doctor and his staff before making a decision.


What stage are the embryos?

The embryos in the AEAA Donor Embryo Program are blastocyst stage embryos.  This typically means they are day 5 and day 6 very high quality embryos. 


How do I know I get good quality embryos?

The embryology staff at AEAA uses various techniques to track embryo development and grade the progress of the embryos.  There are multiple factors that determine the likelihood an embryo will make a pregnancy.  Even with the best grading systems possible, there is no accurate way to know if an embryo will make a pregnancy. That’s the reason why we offer genomic hybridization to examine nuclear and mitochondrial DNA to select-out blastocysts with chromosomal anomalies that could result in birth defects and select-in blastocysts that are most likely to result in healthy live birth.


Can I reserve embryos for a later time?

Patients can reserve embryos in the American Embryo Adoption Agency program. Once the patients have chosen the blastocysts for two cycles, they can complete the administrative and financial process for both cycles and then begin their first treatment cycle. The selected unused blastocysts will be held and monitored in our sophisticated cryopreservation laboratories. If a pregnancy occurs as a result of the first cycle, her reserved blastocysts will be stored for 18 months from the day of the initiation of the first treatment cycle so that she can attempt a second pregnancy. If the patient wants to make arrangements to reserve blastocysts for three cycles, this can be done using the same protocol described earlier. For the third cycle only, and because our twining rate is approximately 10%-15% per cycle, patients who have twin live-births after 34 weeks gestation during the second cycle can elect one of two options: 1) Participate in the program to attempt another pregnancy within the 18 months time frame already established, or 2) choose the “34 week twin live birth exemption” and not have a third transfer. If the patient chooses the exemption, she will notify the American Embryo Adoption Agency by certified mail within 60 days of the birth of her twins that she is cancelling the second embryo adoption cycle and she will be refunded for the unexecuted 2nd cycle except for the embryo maintenance fee. For patients who desire a larger family, a similar arrangement can be made to reserve blastocysts for three cycles.


What information do I have about the Donated embryos?

Donated embryos are surplus blastocysts from another patient treatment that typically became pregnant and then donated blastocysts to AEAA for another patient’s care.   The recipients or intended parents receive detailed information about the biological parents.  This detailed information includes their medical history, family history, genetic history, race, ethnic background, physical traits and various parts of their social history including information about the coupler’s personality.  Patients have the opportunity to review this information and ask additional questions about the donor profiles before making a decision about a perfect match. As we need to protect donors confidentiality photographs will not be available for review.


What information do I have about the donor embryos?

Donor embryos refer to embryos formed using donor sperm and donor eggs.   Patients receive detailed information about the egg and sperm donor.  This detailed information includes children and/or adults photographs, their medical history, family history, genetic history, race, ethnic background, and various parts of their social history including information about the donor’s personality.  Patients have the opportunity to review this information and ask additional questions about the donor profiles before making a decision about a perfect match.


I live out of state. How can this program work for me?

The American Embryo Adoption Agency has helped patients from across the world with pregnancy. Our coordinators are experienced working with people from all over the US and the world. Our patients have come from as far away as Nigeria, England and New Zealand. Patients can work with their local doctor or infertility clinic to receive treatments. The American Embryo Adoption Agency provides all services including working with your local Fertility Clinic to minimize visits to our Agency and the disruption to your schedule.


Who adopts frozen human embryos?

The American Embryo Adoption Agency assists many different types of intended parents in their effort to build a family through embryo donation. For some, infertility does not allow them to create their own genetic families while others are considering specific egg or sperm donation. Many parents want to build their family through adoption while still being able to experience pregnancy and control the pre-natal environment of their child.


Why would adopting parents choose embryo adoption instead of traditional adoption of a newborn?

The most obvious difference between embryo adoption and a traditional adoption is the pregnancy experience. For many adoptive mothers it is important for them to be able to experience the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth. It is also important for them to have control over the prenatal development of their children to ensure their children received the appropriate prenatal care and were not exposed to alcohol or drugs during pregnancy.

There are certain considerations involved in embryo adoption that are not present in traditional adoption. For instance: embryo adoption does not 'guarantee' a live birth. When more than one embryo is transferred, an adoptive parent might have twins or even triplets.

Parents who adopt embryos are able to begin the bonding process with their child before they are born. They are giving embryos that have been frozen an opportunity for life. The embryos belong to the adopting parents before they are placed in the womb and the donating parents have relinquished all parental rights. The child born to the adopting couple is their legal child.


Is there an age limit for the adopting mother?

As recommended by ASRM, AEAA is willing to perform assisted reproductive procedures on patients up to 57 years of age. The doctor and his staff will perform a thorough medical evaluation designed to assess the physical fitness of a patient for pregnancy before deciding to attempt transfer of embryos to any woman of advanced reproductive age (>45 years).


Is this really adoption?

Current adoption law only applies to the placement of a child after they are born. While adoption law is not applicable to the embryo donation/adoption process, embryo adoption agencies apply the rigors of the adoption process and the adopting parents' relationship with the child(ren) is just as binding as a live birth.

The American Embryo Adoption Agency will have legal embryo donation and adoption documentation for both parties that have successfully been used by every matched family that suffice in the courts as legally binding. 


Why use donor embryos rather than an egg donor? 

The simple answer is that using donor embryos rather than eggs is less expensive. 'Donated' eggs can cost upwards of $10,000. Human eggs are purchased, human embryos are donated. Another consideration is the fact that there are more than 1,000,000 human embryos in frozen storage in the United States today. Obviously all of these embryos are not available for adoption, yet each year more families are choosing to donate remaining embryos to other people either through their clinic or through an adoption agency. Choosing to purchase eggs from a donor to create more embryos may simply add to the number of embryos in frozen storage after you have completed building your family. At the American Embryo Adoption Agency we provide additional options to enhance success rates and prevent the birth of abnormal children as well as the additional option of Gender Selection


Do you have to be infertile to consider embryo adoption? 

Absolutely not! There are couples who are simply interested in adding children to their family through adoption. Embryo adoption also allows the woman to experience pregnancy again if she desires. Embryo adoption is also a viable alternative for single women to achieve pregnancy using embryos that have already been created. 


How is surrogacy different from embryo adoption and donation? 

In surrogacy, an agreement is made for embryos to be transferred into a woman's uterus, and she carries the pregnancy for the benefit of the intended parents. The intended parents are specifically making embryos in vitro for placement into the surrogate using either their own genetics or purchases donor genetics. The surrogate may be impregnated using artificial insemination using the intended father's semen and her eggs. Surrogacy laws exist in each state and may differ by state. Compare that to embryo adoption and donation, where the adopting mother herself carries the child or children. The placing couple relinquishes their rights to any children born from the embryos prior to the transfer of those embryos into the adoptive mother's womb. The child that the adopting mother carries and gives birth to is the child that she and the adopting father will parent. 


What Are The Legal Issues With Embryo Adoption? 

The adoption agreement and relinquishment forms are legal contracts between you and your genetic family. As there are no laws regarding adoption of embryos, we have created the contract to match the current position of the courts that the embryos are property. The contract covers the transfer of property and also includes additional adoption language. These legal forms are signed and executed prior to the embryos being shipped to the American Embryo Adoption Agency and before the embryos are transferred into the adoptive mother. 


What Information Do We Receive On the Genetic Family? 

Adoptive parents receive a Family Profile. You also receive three generations of medical health history on the genetic family, as well as information about the embryos. If an egg donor or sperm donor was used, you will receive any information the genetic parents received when they selected their donor. This may include autobiographical information, health information, and possibly pictures. While doctor’s may suggest you seek a certain grade/stage of embryo to adopt, we have seen embryos deemed “excellent” not achieve pregnancy, and embryos deemed “moderate quality” born nine months later as healthy babies. The embryo grade and quality cannot guarantee or prevent a pregnancy. That’s the reason why we use CCS and Mitochondrial DNA testing. Dr V and his staff will have information about the embryos and their stage of development and will know how to adequately culture and care for them during your frozen embryo transfer. 


How is Embryo Adoption Different From Traditional Adoption Concerning Risk? 

Genetic parents differ from a “typical” traditional birthparent in several ways.  A woman placing her born child for adoption may be unprepared for the emotions she will feel upon her child’s birth and therefore may choose to change her mind and parent her baby during the first year. If she doesn’t reclaim the baby she most likely will request visitation rights to her baby.  In an embryo adoption case the genetic parents are typically very stable, mature, have a family, have been through the infertility process, understand the demands of parenting a child or children and fully understand that they cannot emotionally and/or financially add additional children to their family.  Most genetic families have had time to contemplate their options while their embryos are in storage before they choose to donate. 


How long is the placing family’s relinquishment valid? 

When you sign the contract to adopt the embryos, you become their legal owners. When the embryos are received at your clinic, you can begin scheduling your transfer. The contract is irrevocable. 


How to get started with Embryo Adoption/Embryo Donation?

We encourage you to contact our office to schedule an appointment with our physicians to discuss this and all fertility therapy/treatment options AEAA has to offer. We want to get to know you and hear the dreams you have for your future family. We'd be happy to give you more information and answer any questions you might have. Our objective is to assist every AEAA patient with achieving their goal of starting or enlarging their family. We do our best to ensure patients have a clear understanding of their treatment options, so they are able to choose the option that will best fit their needs. Our highly trained team of professionals is here to answer your questions and assist you with your journey. If you are interested in Embryo Adoption, please feel free to contact us by calling (615) 321-8866.


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