Category Archives: Embryo Adoption

June Book Reviews 2014


All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to

51rFfKEPocL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Princess Pink and the Land of Fake-Believe #1: Moldylocks and the Three Beards (A Branches Book)– by Noah Z. Jones – This is a fun book that would appeal to both boys and girls. While it doesn’t have anything to do with adoption it does have to do with diversity.  The main character Princess is a girl of color which is rare to find in most books these days – So bravo! The story is whimsical and a great weird take on fairy tales.  I’m sure this series is going to be a huge hit.  Its a beginner chapter book geared toward kids in grades 1 -2. The second book in this series is due out in August 2014.  retail $4.99 amazon price $4.49 kindle price $3.82

cleo01_frontcoverCleopatra in Space #1: Target Practice by Mike Maihack – this is a graphic novel geared toward kids 8-12 in grades 3-7. Once again this book has nothing to do with adoption but does hit on diversity of characters.  Cleopatra from Egyptian history finds a special scroll as a young girl and is thrust forward in time to become the savior of the galaxy.  This is just the first of her many adventures.  For fans of comic books with female heroines this book is fun and empowering. Cleo, as she likes to be called, is an excellent shot and great at hand to hand combat but really wants nothing to do with book learning, most of all algebra!  Unfortunately we are going to have to wait until 2015 for her next adventure. retail price $12.99  amazon price: $10.68

41zy04SzxsL10 Adoption Essentials: What You Need to Know About Open Adoption (Guide to a Healthy Adoptive Family, Adoption Parenting, and Relationships) by Russell Elkins – This book is a good starting point for families exploring open adoption.  It is very short and gives a great overview of some very important elements to open adoption, sharing information, taking the open adoption relationship seriously, working through jealousy etc..  There is some good information in this little snippet of a book.  A great way to start exploring the world of open adoption and really diving into the different feelings that it can invoke. amazon price $4.32 kindle price $.99

51XqArOQnVL Finding A Family: A Journey Through Infertility and Adoption by Tina Nelson – Tina and her husband struggled with infertility, the tried adoption but waited for years with no results when Tina heard about a new option, Embryo adoption. They contacted an agency and decided to give this a try.  Through Embryo adoption Tina and her husband were able to experience pregnancy and give birth to twins.

Tina and her husband are very religious and rely on their faith to get them through this difficult period in their lives.  They felt that their Heavenly Father would see them through and enable them to have children and raise a family.  You really live Tina’s grief of being unable to have children and the joy of finding out she is pregnant.  If you are interested in embryo adoption this is a good first hand account of what it entails. List price $6.99 price $6.29, kindle price $2.99

Embryo Donation

frozen-human-eggWhy do families choose to donate embryos?

Many families who created embryos for their own IVF use never dreamed of having remaining embryos once their family was complete.  Now faced with ongoing storage costs embryo donation is one of several option open to families.

  •  Donating families can often identify with the struggles of infertility that other families are experiencing and hope to give another family the joy of becoming parents.
  • Donating embryos to science, destruction, or keeping them in stasis forever may not appeal to families.
  • It may be against religious or moral beliefs to destroy or donate embryos to science and by donating remaining embryos to another family they are given the potential for life.

What types of contact between donor and recipient families are available?

Embryo donation should be tailored to each donor family’s needs and desires, what works for one family might not be right or another.  It also depends on what organization you work with.  Some clinics don’t allow any contact or identifying information and then there are some agencies out there that give donor families more options. Some options are:

On-going contact with the recipient family either through letters and photos or more open contact.

  • Anonymous donation. No contact except for an exchange of medical information.
  • Something in-between – notification of a live birth and/or the option for future contact with the recipient family.

Is there specific criteria regarding who can donate?

This would depend on the clinic, or agencies you are using.  Contact them to see what their criteria is.

Are there legal issues associated with embryo donation and placement?

  • At this time there are no federal laws regarding embryo donation and placement.
  • Some states have state laws regarding assisted reproductive technology.
  • In general, embryo placement is governed by contract law respecting the laws and regulations set forth by the FDA regarding human tissue donation.

What are the costs of donating our embryos?

  • There is usually no cost for donating families.
  • Recipient families will assume the cost of storage and transportation once the contracts have been signed legally releasing the embryos for donation.

How do we get started?

If you would like to learn more about donating embryo’s to an other family please contact the clinic where your embryo’s are stored.  There are also several agencies out there that will help you click here for a list of agencies that help families with embryo adoption.

January Book Reviews 2014


All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to

0857007645How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio: Easy Steps to Help You Produce the Best Adoption Profile and Prospective Birthparent Letter by Madeleine Melcher- This title is being released January 21, 2014 – For families who are feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of writing an adoption or family profile this book is a great place to start. Pulling information from many resources, particularly from birth mothers themselves, on what women are looking for when they look at these profiles when they are trying to create an adoption plan , this book has a wealth of information.  Very easy to read and follow it touches on all the bases, knowing your audience, remembering the guidelines set forth by your agency or attorney, the importance of photos etc.  This book is a great place to start and makes the task of writing an adoption profile much more manageable. price $22.46 kindle price $9.99

81qcOjNt9ALSouls On Ice: True Miracle Stories of Embryo Adoption by Angela Welch Prusia, Joy Steiner Moore, Karen Koczwara, Arlene Showalter & Marty Minchin.– Maria Lancaster, Executive Director and co-founder of the first ever church based embryo adoption agency shares her personal journey, as well as the stories of many families that have been through the embryo adoption process. This book includes the personal journeys of families that have gone through the process,  discussing the pain of infertility and their venture into embryo adoption.

This book is very religious and pro-life, there is a forward written by Governor Mike Huckabee who states “Maria works relentlessly to protect the lives of the unborn. Her efforts to connect families who have remaining embryos after fertility treatments with those who are unable to conceive are incredible. God helps orchestrate every family match in her organization, and the power of his direction in the process is reflected in this new compilation of true stories.”

The stories are interesting and embryo adoption is always a great option for families where the woman is able to carry but not able to conceive. $16.26 kindle edition $9.99

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How It Feels to Have a Gay or Lesbian Parent: A Book by Kids for Kids of All Ages by Judith E. Snow – The kids interviewed for this book range in age from seven to thirty-one.  It is interesting to see the differences and the similarities in all of their situations. It seems that most of them were okay with their parents being gay but when they were in elementary school or middle school they were scared their friends would make fun of them. Once the teens hit high school they didn’t care as much but many were selective about who they told. This book could be very valuable to kids whose parents are just coming out or kids who are having a hard time adjusting to their parents being gay. Its also helpful to gay parents to know what may be going on in your child’s head, whether you raised them since birth in a same sex relationship or if this is a new situation. All children go through periods of being embarrassed by their parents for one reason or another but it helps to know what other families went through and that these feelings are normal, and for the kids it helps show them that there are other kids who have walked in their shoes and they made it through and survived, it isn’t the end of the world and you aren’t alone.  amazon  price $30.55 Kindle edition $29.02 kindle rental $8.13

Helping Hands— Supporting the Paper Heart Project

1265896_10151856963103830_1038086491_oA warm welcome awaited Adoptions From The Heart last week at Bucks County Community College in Bristol, PA on Friday, September 27, 2013 as a part of United Way of Bucks County’s “Volunteer Bucks Day of Service”.

Teams of enthusiastic volunteers dispersed throughout Bucks County on Friday to help others in the community. Bucks County Community College students, faculty, staff and alumni volunteered at over a dozen service sites in BCCC’s first annual Volunteer Bucks Day of Service, hosted with the help of United Way Bucks County. Adoptions From The Heart was grateful to have been a part of the event.

With the help registered volunteers, some students passing by, and the wonderful BCCC staff, almost 1,500 purple paper hearts were cut, bundled, and ready to go for AFTH’s annual fundraiser and awareness campaign, The Paper Heart Project. Adoptions From the Heart hosts Paper Heart Project throughout November, in honor of National Adoption Month.

Throughout the month of November participants and sponsors collect donations of $1 in exchange for a purple paper heart which is then displayed during the Month of November to spread adoption awareness. All proceeds raised from the project benefit AFTH’s Birthmother Fund. In addition to raising money for a worthy cause, The Paper Heart Project is a simple fundraiser to bring the community together in supporting and spreading adoption awareness.

If you would like to join the Paper Heart Project this year, register your business, organization, classroom or small group online here: Register to Join the PHP or make a personal donation online at, at a participating location or in your local AFTH office.

January Book Reviews 2013

ReadAll books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to

What-He-Can-Expect-When-Shes-Not-Expecting-CoverWhat He Can Expect When She’s Not Expecting: How to Support Your Wife, Save Your Marriage, and Conquer Infertility!by Marc Sedaka: This is a great book.  It really explains the infertility testing process and IVF in laymans terms and with humor.  It lets men know what they are in for without having to ask the doctor or feeling like they are the only ones experiencing these hormonal ups and downs.  One of the best sentences is when he explains how guys may want kids, but women need kids, and while this may not be true for all men and women, those going through the rigorous process of infertility are certain to have this ring true.

Marc uses his own experiences to help guide men around and through pitfalls that he and many others have encountered.  Using sports metaphors and eliminating most of the scientific and gross descriptions this book could be very helpful to any man helping his wife through the infertility process.  There is a little bit at the end about other options for forming your family egg donation, embryo donation, gestational surrogacy and adoption.  List price $12.95 price $10.36

102802745Making Babies, Making Families: What Matters Most in an Age of Reproductive Technologies, Surrogacy, Adoption, and Same-Sex and Unwed Parents’ Rights by Mary Lyndon Shanley : Shanley explores how dominant notions of family (in which the primary partners are married, heterosexual and of the same race) have contributed to legal rulings on adoption and surrogacy which have dominated the news in recent years.  She feels that the law has not caught up with reproductive technology and the make-up of modern families (single parents, same sex-couples, and even heterosexual couples where the woman is the primary breadwinner).

Shanley offers a new vision of family law that’s based on existing caring relationships of adults for children. It ensures each child’s right to be cared for, and takes into account the emotional realities of family life. She applies this practical, humane model to the most complex and controversial issues of our time, including adoption, biological fathers’ legal rights, surrogate motherhood, lesbian families, and the rights of sperm and egg donors and recipients.  She feels that today’s laws do not do justice to children because they do not take into account all the different types of families there are today and instead they are trying to impose laws that define family in a very strict outdated way. This is a very interesting book with a very balanced vision. price $19.00

Carried in My HeartGotcha Day: A Carried In My Heart Adoption Story for Children by Rebecca Tabasso–  This is a fun children’s story about the special day Suzie’s family celebrates every year, her “gotcha day’ or the day they became a family.  Suzie tries to figure out what the big day they will be celebrating soon is and she runs through all the holidays including the historic holidays on the US calendar.  This book has bright, exciting illustrations and is a great way to express how much your adoption and your child mean to your family. price $12.96


Embryo Adoption…

Embryo Adoption…What you Need to Know

It can be a scary topic to talk about, embryo adoption. Something about it seems to make people uncomfortable. But then again, so did the idea of open adoption just years ago. Once you educate yourself on the topic you’ll find that it’s not so scary after all. In fact, embryo adoption is the ideal family building solution for many couples and even singles.

Where Did it Originate?

Over the past couple decades; thousands of couples have been able to have children through the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF). After completing their treatment more often than not, these couples find themselves with remaining embryos in frozen storage. Couples must then face the difficult decision of determining what will become of those remaining embryos. As IVF has continued to grow in popularity there are an estimated 500,000 cyropreserved (frozen) embryos in storage in the U.S. alone. Couples may choose to donate the embryos to research or to another couple experiencing infertility.

In addition, debates remain over whether the transfer of frozen embryos should be termed an “adoption” or a “donation.” (It often correlates with one’s belief on when human life begins life). The practice of embryo donation has long been available at IVF clinics, but it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that embryo “adoption” agencies and facilitators came about.


By choosing donation for adoption, another couple has the opportunity to adopt the embryos. The embryos are given a chance to grow, to be born and loved in a family. Through embryo placement, families are also given the opportunity to experience pregnancy and birth.

We will be sharing more information about Embryo Adoption within the upcoming posts, but in the mean time, feel free to visit and check out our Heartbeats section or register for  a free Heartbeats webinar to learn more.

Answers to Questions about Embryo Donation & Placement

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

Anonymous 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.

Known donation
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.