There comes a time in former fertility patients’ lives, well after they have found success and beaten infertility, when they feel content. They know in their hearts that their family is complete. The difficult memories infertility may have caused have likely faded as they find themselves in the midst of the fast-paced family life young children can create. The old adage “time heals all wounds” – as cliché as it sounds- eventually rings true, as happy memories with their family are made year after year.
Sometimes these happy young families have frozen embryos remaining in storage and are conflicted about what to do with them. Some former patients think of their embryos often, and may feel guilty because they know their family feels complete, yet they feel they should go back and try to give the frozen embryos life. Others may try not to think about their embryos because there are too many emotional perspectives connected with making a decision. These patients often find themselves in a limbo of indecision.
Many receive their annual frozen embryo storage invoice and pay the bill without even giving it much thought. Sometimes it seems easier to ignore the topic than to address it.
If you have found yourself in this situation year after year, it may be time to consider your options:
- Donate the embryos to a recipient going through infertility at Carolina Conceptions.
- Request the embryos be discarded.
- Continue to pay your storage fee until you can choose option one or two.
Talk through each option. Whatever original viewpoints you had about the embryos when they went into storage may have changed years later. It’s ok to feel what you do. Be honest and consider all of your possibilities.
If you are still unsure about what to do with your embryos for whatever reason, we’d like you to consider the idea of embryo donation. This means you are confident your own family is complete, and you feel compelled to give your frozen embryos a chance at life.
We have many patients who are unable to do IVF for various reasons, have experienced failed cycles, or miscarriage. These patients are typically near the end of the road in terms of fertility treatment options and may already be entertaining the ideas of traditional adoption or choosing to live child-free. If they are still hoping to attempt pregnancy and childbirth, there is one final treatment to consider: embryo recipiency. This is an amazing option for patients, but requires a former patient to first choose embryo donation.
As an embryo donor, you relinquish all parental rights over the frozen embryos, and they are given anonymously to a patient at Carolina Conceptions on the Embryo Recipiency List. The recipient will undergo a frozen embryo IVF cycle in hopes of achieving pregnancy and childbirth.
The embryo recipiency program at Carolina Conceptions started in 2008. Since its inception, we’ve had 38 live births and are currently following 20 ongoing pregnancies- all from the gift of embryo donation.
If Embryo Donation is something you would like to do, here are some next steps:
- Contact Terry Hunter at Carolina Conceptions to let her know you’ve decided to donate your frozen embryos ((919) 782-5911 x 109 or THunter@CarolinaConceptions.com)
- Schedule lab work: The FDA requires infectious disease labs (free of charge to Carolina Conceptions patients of record) be completed to ensure the safety of all parties involved in embryo donation and recipiency.
- Fill out some paperwork: As a donor, you are required to fill out some paperwork relinquishing your parental rights to the embryos being donated. If you wish, we can recommend a reproductive psychologist if you would like to speak with an outside party prior to making your final decision and waiving parental rights.
- Complete an anonymous physical profile: Donors will be asked to complete a physical profile along with a family medical history for all biological contributing parties of the embryo. No photographs will be taken or provided. This information will be used to help match donors and recipients by basic characteristics such as race and provide recipient couple with basic medical health history for the embryo(s).
If you feel this is the future you would like to give your embryos, or have additional questions about Embryo Donation, please call or email Terry Hunter at:
Thank you for considering giving the opportunity and gift of life to another Carolina Conceptions’ patient who has been dreaming of parenthood as you once did!