Embryo Recipient – Your FAQs Answered

Receiving an embryo from a donor for use in your fertility treatment will probably be the best gift you are given in your lifetime. The world should be shouting for joy at the amazing scientific and medical advances that enable the transfer of a donated embryo, creating a beautiful bundle of joy, your baby.

Oddly, society seems rather shy to openly discuss the topic, leaving many people considering the use of a donated embryo feeling alone and with a list of questions. While awareness, acceptance and appreciation are increasing, we understand it may never really feel like the appropriate topic to raise while in the grocery shop queue, or at the busy bus stop. But fear not, we’ve got the most sought after answers right here, especially for you.

What does receiving a donated embryo actually involve?

Preparation in advance of receiving the embryo will begin with fertility medication being taken for a period of time, with regular attendance at appointments to monitor the effects. The medication is specially designed to thicken the lining of the uterus, creating the best possible environment for the embryo implantation. Once the embryos have been successfully thawed, one or more embryos will be transferred. The actual process of the embryos reaching the uterus is often described as being an experience similar to the routine cervical screening test. Within a couple of weeks you will know the outcome by conducting a pregnancy test, either at home or at the clinic. Egg and sperm quality used to create the embryo are contributory factors of success to consider.

Are there age restrictions for embryo recipients?

In most cases, embryo recipients are preferred to not have reached the menopause and therefore are usually approximately 50 years old. The menopause is a natural occurrence and so age varies amongst women. Each case is individually considered however and so women older than this have went on to successfully give birth using a donated embryo.

How do I go about finding an embryo donor?

Discuss the availability of embryo donations with your clinic. Embryos frozen by professionals will have been involved in a thorough scanning process, minimising risk of unwanted disease or infection.

Why would someone donate an embryo?

After having completed their family, some parents may have unused and no longer required embryos remaining. Often having been through the process of IVF, women or couples can empathise and relate to others facing a similar situation. Rather than their embryos be wasted, they take satisfaction in donating them to give someone a chance of parenthood. Some embryos are also donated for medical research purposes. £35 compensation is offered in Britain for each time the donor has to attend the clinic. Other expenses can be requested as well such as reimbursement of their embryo storage costs. There is little financial incentive and almost all embryo donors simply want to help people have their dream of their own family come true.

How long will the embryo be frozen for?

Embryos will not be stored for more than ten years. Those who have embryos in storage are contacted annually to remind them and discuss possible options, in an attempt to avoid deterioration and missed opportunities.

Is the embryo thaw process risky?

Unfortunately not all frozen embryos survive the thaw process. Approximately 60% of frozen embryos will successfully thaw.

Will the donor have any legal rights to my baby?

The donor will have absolutely no legal rights or responsibilities when it comes to the resulting child. You will be considered as the parent by law and it will be your name on the birth certificate.

Can I find out information about the donor?

You can request some information regarding the donor, but any personal, identifying details will be kept private. You can be given an estimate of possible half-siblings related to your child too.

Will the embryo donor know about the child?

The embryo donor is entitled to know the amount of related pregnancies and births. They can also learn the sex of the child or children and the year in which they entered the world. No identifying information will ever be disclosed.

Will my child be able to identify the donor once they reach adulthood?
All donors in the UK are required to register their identifiable information. This will be securely stored and only those over the age of eighteen can access the register to trace their genetic connections. Other countries offer the possibility for donors to remain anonymous.

What can I do if the embryo transfer wasn’t successful?

It is important to have emotional support during this difficult time. Friends, family, partners, counsellors and support organisations are all places that can offer you help and advice. Allow yourself time to experience the normal range of emotions and your body to be physically back to normal. You may consider trying the process again or be keen to learn about the different options available to you.



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