Donor Embryos, Options for Couples
TFC is excited about the development of our donor embryo program. While the number of locally donated embryos meeting all qualifications for donation is limited, we will soon be partnering with a national registry to connect our recipients with embryos from IVF programs all over the country. This registry is being developed with the aid of a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and should be operational in 2014.
Recipients of Donor Embryos
Recipient candidates for donated embryos are generally either those couples who cannot afford to pursue a cycle of in vitro fertilization using donor gametes or who chose donor embryos over adoption. Embryo donation represents a significantly less expensive alternative to conventional IVF treatment, but there is no genetic link to the intended parents.
There are many couples who face moral, ethical, and religious dilemmas when having to decide what to do with extra cryopreserved embryos that remain once they have completed their families. Altruistic donation of these embryos to an infertile patient can be a positive option for couples opposed to discarding their embryos or donating them for research purposes. We encourage all TFC patients with cryopreserved embryos that will not be utilized to contact a member of the TFC Donor Program to discuss this potential gift of life to an infertile couple.
Ideally, donated embryos should originate from couples who are willing to disclose significant information about their personal, medical, and family histories, and who have few or no risk factors for genetic transmission of disease. To reduce the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the offspring, it is preferable that the oocyte donor be younger than 35 at the time of the original IVF procedure.
Of paramount importance is the avoidance of transmission of communicable disease from the embryo to the recipient. This requires initial screening of both members of the donating couple as well as follow-up screening before the embryos are accepted for donation. All parties involved in an embryo donation should undergo psychological screening and counseling, especially in regards to decision-making and disclosure. Informed consent for both embryo donors and recipients should be extensive with respect to liability and anonymity.