There are more than one million frozen embryos in the United States today. If one or more of those are yours, you have this question to answer:
What should I do with them?
If plans to have another child are in your future, great! You are good to go. That question is easy for you to answer, but if you are like tens of thousands of couples in the US who have already completed their family using IVF, this can be a very tough question to answer.
The options for embryo disposition are clear.
1. Donate your embryo to research
2. Use for the future (if you want more children)
3. Thaw and discard
4. Donate to another loving couple
A study done in 2005 called the decision “a significant and frequently unresolved issue for couples with stored frozen embryos,” one complicated by “the deeply personal conceptualizations of their embryos” which “contributes to their ambivalence, uncertainty, and difficulty in reaching a decision.”
It seems clear that one reason this decision might be difficult for so many is the nature of the embryo’s connection to family and the human life potential.
Another study found that “the majority of embryo-holding families choose to postpone ultimate decision-making about their embryos.” Some do this because they aren’t sure they are done having children, others because of an inability to make a decision, whether because of ambivalence or disagreement, and others because they lack the information and support to make a decision.
“I could never donate my embryos because I’d be certain that I’d spend the rest of my life looking for what I would still consider my child.”
While this sentiment can be easily understood, another way to look at embryo disposition through donation is:
“I would rather know that by donating we did provide a life for our embryos, that they went to a good and faithful home and lived a full and happy life.”
If you are struggling with the question of what to do with your unused embryos, we would like to direct you to our website where we offer a private and secure online platform that allows adoptive families and embryo donors to meet. Here you are able to connect, chat, and decide for yourself if there is a couple that you would be interested in donating your embryos to and what kind of adoption you want to have.