1. Do Embryo donors receive compensation similar to compensation that egg donors receive?
Donors are not paid for the embryo donation, but are reimbursed by the recipient for specific expenses related to the donation. These expenses may include testing and screening (e.g. obligatory blood tests) as well as expenses incurred transferring the embryos to your clinic and costs for thawing the embryo.
Prior to the donation all details regarding donor reimbursement should be agreed upon in writing and may be detailed in any contractual agreement entered into between the parties.
2. Are donors, but not recipients of donated embryos required to undergo medical screening and testing prior to embryo donation.
Both donors and recipients must undergo medical screening and testing.
As a potential recipient, there are several steps you must be willing to take. You should be prepared to undergo standard prenatal medical screening and testing for infectious diseases. Recipients should provide complete medical and obstetrical history.
Guidelines for medical evaluation of donors, published by the American Society of Reproductive medicine include collection of historical data; laboratory evaluation, screening for heritable diseases.
3. Is the Live birth rates per frozen embryo transfer approximately 50%.
Success rates vary considerably. Current estimates indicate live birth rate per frozen embryo transfer is 27.7%.
(2006 SART Clinic summary Report)
The following factors may impact success rates:
Many embryos, although appearing structurally normal, do not have good reproductive potential
The best quality embryos are used for fresh transfer, while lesser quality embryos may be cryopreserved
Not all embryos are viable after freezing and thawing
Implantation problems may reduce the chance that viable embryos will result in pregnancy
Some embryos will be damaged when they are thawed and some will not divide. Other factors can impact the pregnancy rate as well.
Ask your clinic or practice:
How old was the female donor when she created the embryos? (The quality of the embryos is impacted by the age of the woman at the time she created the embryos; embryos created by a younger woman have a higher chance of pregnancy.)
What was the quality of the embryos when they were frozen?
How long have the embryos been frozen? Because freezing and thawing protocols have improved over time, the success rates for embryos frozen in the last ten years may be higher than those frozen more than ten years ago.
What was the IVF clinic’s live birth rate per embryo transfer at the time the embryos were frozen?
4. What are the opinions about whether to disclose to a child his/origins?
Proponents of openness believe that knowing your genetic origins contributes to a person’s sense of identity. They also think withholding this information might compromise the quality of medical care the child receives. Because the child is not genetically related to you, he or she will have a different medical history, a different DNA and possibly a different blood type. As a result, the chances that the child will eventually learn of their non-genetic relationship to you are great. Some consider it unfair to keep this information from children, as they may assume they are vulnerable to their parents’ health problems.
Many mental health professionals feel that disclosure is important in maintaining an open, honest and trusting family relationship. Evidence suggests that accidental or delayed disclosure can cause children to feel shocked, confused, betrayed, and impairs their sense of trust.
Some people believe that their right to privacy is more important than the child’s right to know. They argue that important medical information can be put into the child’s medical history without revealing the donation.
They also feel disclosing a child’s origins leaves him or her open to social stigma and judgmental or prejudiced attitudes. In addition, some feel that a child’s need for information or contact with the donor may not be able to be satisfied, resulting in anger or disappointment for the child.
5. Is Embryo donation a private arrangement, and not subject to laws and regulations?
All parties should seek separate, independent legal representation to write an agreement addressing the issues surrounding the embryo donation, such as the donor couples relinquishment of rights, the parties’ responsibilities and obligations towards one another and the child, issues involving future contact, and terms of reimbursement. Prevailing state laws as well as the specific needs and circumstances of each party should dictate the precise terms of contractual provisions. The donor and recipient agreements should contain the same information. To date, nine states (DE, ND, OK, TX, UT, VA, GA, WA, WY) have laws governing embryo donation, six of which use identical language: “A donor is not a parent of a child conceived by means of assisted reproduction.”
(“Assisted reproduction” includes eggs & embryos.)
6. Are embryo donation always anonymous, meaning the donors and recipients never meet each other?
There are two types of embryo donation to another couple:
Anonymous donation – the donor and recipient are not identified to each other
Known donation the donor and recipient are identified to each other; you may or may not have known one another prior to the donation
Many IVF clinics only offer anonymous embryo donation to their patients. The donor couples IVF clinic takes responsibility for the matching process and bases it on their first-hand knowledge of you and the donor couple. They try to match the physical characteristics of both couples as closely as possible, according to height, weight, eye and hair color and ethnicity.
There is usually limited information shared regarding the occupation, level of education and personality type of either couple. The clinic or practice will try to make sure the recipient and donor do not live geographically close to each other. In most programs, the donations of embryos are to one couple only and are not divided.
In a known donation, the donor couple takes an active role in selecting the recipient, often working with an embryo matching service or agency. The donor couple may want information about the recipient, the date the embryo is transferred, whether a pregnancy resulted, and possibly periodic updates about the child. There may be face-to-face meetings or pictures exchanged. Some donors may want to open their nuclear family to include the recipient family.