Embryo Donation & Adoption

Parent Q&A

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  • Embryo donation

    (2 replies)

    Dear all,

    we are looking to donate embryos that we still have in storage at RSC Bay Area, but we have since moved abroad and would like to make the process as easy as possible on us legally and financially. Ideally, we would like to donate the embryos to an agency who takes care of all that stuff, but we would like to stay away from all the religiously motivated ones. Also, we think that it is best for the children who might be born to have the option of at least having some basic information about us, so an open donation would probably be best. Our clinic does not seem to have a an embryo donation program, and most programs at the other clinics are anonymous. We know the website micraclewaiting, but that seems like a do-it-yourself approach, and we would like to avoid having to deal with the legal stuff ourselves.

    Anyone have any ideas/hints? (We looked at the archive, but the last info is 5 years old and seems to be outdated).


    [Moderator Note] I found some more recent Q&A that had not been archived and added it here: https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/recommend/medical/ObGyn/donorembryos


    You should check out Reprotech based out of Nevada.  I just moved my embryos there and they have a donation program.  Hope that helps!



    Thank you for your post. Is it possible to donate to an individual or a family or does it have to be to an agency?

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Need some help finding out about embryo adoption

April 2016

Hi, I am in the process of finding the best way to do embryo ''adoption''. I am a single woman in my mid-late 40s. I am open to clinics who do frozen or fresh transfers but I am also open to working with a couple that has left-over embryos. I was going to work with a clinic in Spain but now I am evaluating local clinics here because of the travel costs and the travel itself. I don't really want to deal with agencies like Miracles Waiting and the like and their processes (donors evaluating me, home studies, the whole religious aspect). I need some support in this. The information available is overwhelming. I'd love to talk to someone who has done this before, to couples or single women who have left over embryos or to anyone who has done this before. I talked to CA IVF today. They sounded OK but have a lot of negative reviews. Thanks

Hi there,

We're at UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, just starting IVF, but I do know they have an embryo donation program there (http://coe.ucsf.edu/ivf/embryo_donation_program_for_recipient.html). We've been working with them for quite a while and I definitely recommend you talk to them -- they are awesome. With the fancy new campus at Mission Bay, everything at the clinic is absolutely state-of-the-art.

I also recommend you pose your question at reddit.com/r/infertilitybabies. There are a number of women there who've successfully gone the donor embryo route and will be happy to share their experience with you.

Good luck!
Also hoping for a science baby

How to connect with someone who might want our frozen embryos

Aug 2014

We are trying to connect with someone who would like to adopt our frozen embryos. We've posted a profile on the ''miracles waiting'' website, but haven't found the right match yet. Most people who respond are very religious, quite conservative, and far away. So, we're seeking suggestions for how we might connect (anonymously early on) with potential Bay Area frozen embryo recipients. Embryo Donors

Dear Embryo Donor,

Thank you so much for posting your note. My husband and I just asked our RE about embryo adoption and we were told to pursue another avenue because ''there are very few donors available.'' We did not know that the ''miracles waiting'' website was available and felt like we were at a dead end.

We just started looking into open adoption but now that we know that there are indeed donors that are looking for the right matches, we feel relief and renewed excitement. I'm not sure if you would be willing to speak to us offline just so we would have more information and maybe some other avenues to explore? We are in the bay area and could use any guidance that you may be willing to give us. Thank you in advance, and what an amazing gift you are going to give to someone. hopeful again

Dear Embryo Donor, My husband and I are interested in starting a conversation -- anonymously as you request. I didn't know until I read this that embryo adoption was even a possibility! I would love to know more and look forward to starting a conversation. You are offering a tremendous gift to someone, whoever it may be. As I am sure you know the longing that comes with fertility challenges, thank you for offering hope!  Yours, A

We gave away frozen embryos an ''open'' adoption. We have two girls from our embryos for which we used an egg donor and my husbands sperm. Now the recipients of our frozen embryos have a boy.

We're in touch through emails and visits. Only wish we could get together more; but we live on different coasts. We're very glad we did it this way. The hardest thing was connecting with someone of like mind. It took two years! The service we first used connected us with a family who wanted a closed adoption even though we said we wanted an open one. The second family was an evangelical minister which didn't work too well for us since we're jewish. After looking a while myself I finally used Bonnie at bb [at] cinci.rr.com Good luck Deborah

How to find a couple to adopt our embryos

June 2013

My husband and I have a very happy, healthy 18-month-old who was born via IVF with a donor egg. We have 2 frozen embryos at UCSF, but we don't plan to have another child (I'm 45, that's part of the reason). We are interested in the possibility of finding a couple to adopt the remaining embryos. I know that there are some agencies that deal with this, but I understand that they are primarily Christian agencies that may exclude same-sex couples. Does anyone have any advice about how we could go about exploring adopting for our embryos. We feel so fortunate to have our duaghter, and it took a lot of work and resources to get her, so we want to pass on the goodness to another couple if possible. Anonymous

I'm a big fan of embryo donation and wish more people would consider donating their remaining embryos to others that are trying to build their families.

First, have you thought about what kind of relationship you'd like with the other family? We pursued donated embryos after donor eggs didn't work for us. We wanted at least a somewhat open relationship so any children could have access to their biosiblings (and bio parents, if possible). I was also skeeved out by the whole overly religious aspect of many sites claiming to specialize in embryo adoption.

I found Miracles Waiting (www.miracleswaiting.org) where both donors and recipients can post listings. It's also a fantastic resource for embryo donation in general. At the time it was free for donors to post listings. You can look for what's a right match for you and post as much or as little as you'd like in your posting (or you can look at people who are looking for embryos).

I found a great listing for a couple that were actually local and the embryos were at the same clinic I'd used for some of my fertility treatments! Unfortunately the cycle with the donor embryos didn't result in a positive pregnancy/babies but we're still friends with the other couple.

Also since you mention UCSF, have you checked with them? I know that Dr Vic Fujimoto was starting a donor embryo program or at least helped his patients who wanted to donate to other couples/singles. Consider giving him a call. I don't remember which nurse was working with him on that but he was very supportive of our needs as well as the couple who donated their embryos to us.

Best of luck to you and what am amazing gift you are considering! former infertile who still knows way too much about all this

Want to donate 4 frozen embryos

Sepr 2012

Hello, My husband and I did a round of IVF with egg and sperm donors last year. We have four frozen embryos and one vial of sperm left. Each month we pay to store these items.

We are in agreement that we don't want to try IVF again and are now looking to see what can be done with the genetic materials as we would like to stop paying the storage fees.

Preferably we would like to donate the embryos and sperm to a couple who having a hard time getting pregnant. However, the place where we went does not have a donation program anymore. Our only options through them are to destroy the materials or donate them for stem cell research. These embryos cost a small fortune and a lot of effort to obtain. Plus, I kind of think of them as my children. I do not want them destroyed and would much rather see them go to a loving couple.

Does anyone know what our options are? We've been referred to Snowflakes but would prefer not to work with a far right Christian organization. Our idea donees are educated, professional atheists/agnostics (or people who label themselves as a member of a religion but are not active and do not participate in any anti-gay or anti-choice activities) and either LGBT or gay friendly.

Any suggestions that you have are greatly appreciated. Donor

Hello, what a wonderful gift, idea and please do not destroy them, as there are many loving couples that are not so fortunate to have their own child/ren, who will love and adopt your embroys as their own children! Please do not destroy them as they are children that will bring a wonderful presence and life to a family in waiting!

My partner and I, we are one of them, and even so I am not aware of some places that will be of help to you, I gladly will help you to find one with you, where your embroys can be a loving gift to a couple in waiting. A good source is the Adoption Magazine website, as it has many links and resources, Adoption (Idiot guide book- a wonderful resource), and I would also turn to any bigger fertility clinic in the SF Bay area.

Suggest you reach out to Leland Traiman of Rainbow Flag Health Services and see if he can either take your donation or direct you to a place that meets your requirements and will accept it. http://www.gayspermbank.com/ dad

Please call Dr Susan Willman of Reproductive Science Center in Orinda 925/452-4711. Many of her clients are going through the final stages of fertility treatments and would love to be considered for your donor embryos. I am sure she can meet your criteria for a family because she is an incredible doctor in terms of listening and understanding where you are coming from, she would make a good match with a patient she knows. We have lots of experience with her guiding us through all of the emotional and medical steps of fertility. We really trusted her and would have given her our remaining embryos to donate to another (gave them to a friend instead).

Another option is Family Formation Law Offices of Michaelson and Cohen, in Lafayette. We were matched with an egg donor there (using Willman's medical services for the rest of the process) and they were wonderful to work with. They may have a bigger file of waiting families to choose from but they don't know the families intimately like Willman would.

Good luck. Thanks for changing someone's life

Have you used donor embryos and had a successful pregnancy?

Dec 2011

Has anyone used donor embryos and had a successful pregnancy? What clinic did you use? Does anyone have experience with California ivf fertility in Davis?

I donated my eggs through Pacific Fertility in San Francisco. They were wonderful and the couple I donated them to got pregnant. I know I was not on the same side as you, so my recommendation may not be of use, but they truly were amazing on my end of the deal. anonymous due to nature of message

We are in the middle of a donor egg cycle with California IVF in Davis for a donor egg. Their donor embryo program is fairly unique and had we not gotten some unexpected funding from my parents to pursue a donor egg, we definitely would be in a donor embryo cycle with California IVF.

Overall, we are very pleased with our experiences at California IVF. They have great doctors and first rate embryologists. Everyone who works there is very nice and attentive.

Our only criticism of them is that there is some level of disorganization in the practice. For example, we had to request our bill a couple of times and by the time they gave it to us, there were not enough business days to get the money transferred to the right accounts to pay them by their own payment due deadline. The bill also contained an error which it took them a month to figure out. There were no real consequences to us for these problems but given that infertility is stressful, not having to deal with their disorganization would have been less stressful. Also, while the doctors are very good (much better than the typical MD) at explaining what they are doing right now, they don't always provide you with information about the future steps in the protocol. For me, because I like to know what is going to happen, this also added some stress.

As I said before, overall, we have been very pleased. The donor embryo program might also be a bit different both because the cost is fixed and because the procedure has fewer steps for you (no egg retrieval, no sperm samples, and no worries about egg or embryo numbers). They give you time with the MD to ask questions at every visit and they are responsive if you call the office with questions. I would recommend thinking about your questions ahead of time so that you can make the best use of that face-to-face time with the MD.

Best of luck, optimistic donor egg recipient

I have two kids from donor embryos, and I couldn't be happier. Infertility is such a painful time, and if you're like me, you've been through the ringer (literally). I've done practically every procedure known, including surgery, IUI, IVF, Chinese medicine, acupuncture.

What worked for me, finally, when nothing else would, is donor IVF. If you have done IVF, it seems like just the next logical step in treatment (and slightly easier since you don't have to do the first half).

It is much more expensive, since you are now paying for the donor time and expenses (which is, I believe tax deductible as medical expenses-check on that). It's such a great gift that donors are doing, I'm so glad we live in such a time.

My donor cycle, that I did with RSC, was about double that of a regular IVF. Most of that was in donor fees. I went through a private agency in SF for the donor.

A friend who did a donor cycle with Pacific?, did a ''share'' with the embryo bank, where she got half the embryos and the ''Bank'' got the other half, with split costs. The risk is that if it doesn't work, you have no ''second chance''. It did work for her, and she has a healthy baby.

In my cycle, I was able to have some embryos to cryopreserve. That gave me an opportunity for my second child. The ''frozen embryo transfer'' cycle costs were negligible (when compared with the full IVF cycle).

I know two other families that did donor cycles, and all ended up with lovely babies. If you really want to go that route and can afford it, I highly recommend it. Love my babies

WE have two children birthed by me with a donor embryo. It's been great and I highly recommend it. We even gave our left over embryos to another family who now have a two year old son. WE visit when we can. anon

Embryo adoption for non-traditional families?

March 2010

We are a lesbian family from the East Bay interested in adopting embryos for one partner to carry and both partners to raise. The fertility clinics have differing views on the legal requirements but all have said the timeline is much faster if you locate your own embryos rather than get on their lists. All of the resources online are religious-based and seem not to support alternative families. Does anyone have any advice how to get this process started for a non-traditional family in search of locating frozen/cryopreserved embryos for a private donation/adoption? anonymous

I think this web resource would be a good place to ask questions and get good advice and support: http://www.network54.com/Forum/572336/ Good luck on your exciting journey! Susan

I'd suggest contacting the local mom's clubs for multiples and asking if you can post a request. Women belonging to these groups have a higher chance of conceiving through IVF and will likely have embryos in a freezer that they will eventually have to dispose of. Some might be open to giving them to someone else, as the alternatives are destroying them or donating them to research. I caution you that it is difficult, once one has actually managed to create those embryos and transform them into toddlers who are busy trashing your house, to contemplate their potential full siblings being raised by another family. On the other hand, if their egg donor kept on donating, or if one's husband at one point was a sperm donor in grad school, one knows damn well that there are half siblings out there trashing somebody else's house. A bit of genetic drift is simply the reality of assisted reproduction. Good luck. One would hope that there are, however, embryo banks that are not run by faith based institutions, esp. as HHS during the Bush administration used taxpayer money to fund them. anon

I found one online site that faciliates locating embryos that, despite its name, does not appear to be religiously affiliated, and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation: http://miracleswaiting.org/membersonly3/modules/tinycontent/ index.php?id=4 -anon

I work with families in public adoptions (adopting children from foster care) although it's not related to embryo adoptions I do have some suggestions.

To begin with I would suggest that you contact Our Family Coalition. They're a non-profit organization for LGBTQ families; they have monthly meetings for prospective families, panel discussions, potlucks... It will give you an opportunity to hear from all types of service providers in the non-traditional adoption/parenting world. You will also meet other families, some who are embarking on the same path, this is extremely helpful.

Secondly you will need to consult a lawyer. Emily Doskow is one such lawyer who spoke at a recent OFC panel in Oakland. I don't know her personally; I just know that she's co-written a NOLO book on the topic and seemed to have a lot of information, and a good reputation. Her number is 510-540-8311 Best of luck! rahel

RSC Bay area now has an embryo donation program if you haven't talked to them - they are in Orinda and San Ramon. There is also a website called Miracleswaiting.org that has a ton of info and allows you to post a profile. Note that most donors do not post profiles but join and look for recipients to contact so do not be put off by the lack of donor profiles. One thing to think about is if you want to be anonymous or known to the donors. The clinics tend to be anon. What you talk about with the religious orgs. is known as embryo adoption and most of them are coming from a pro-life stance and looking at the embryos as life. They require 2 parents under the age of 40 and a home study...etc. You probably want to look for embryo donation (the adoption term is used when the embryos are viewed as a child). I hope you are able to find embryos. It's a wonderful way to build a family.

Lastly...if you are really having a hard time locating embryos you could look into doing a shared donor egg cycle or doing a cycle in another country. It may not be that much more expensive given the legal work needed for embryo donation. anon

A friend of mine adopted embryos from a Christian organization. I know that it was not an inexpensive or quick process. They had to go through (and pay for) a home study and they also had to wait to be selected by a donor family. Then, of course, there were the medical costs for the frozen embryo transfer. I'm not sure of your reasons for wanting to adopt embryos but, if you instead opted for donor sperm (and donor eggs, if needed) you might find the costs fairly comparable plus you would have way more control over the process. You could pick the donors, rather than wait around and hope for someone to pick you. Good luck with the process

Looking to place my frozen embryos with an adoptive family

September 2006

Has anyone in this community successfully placed their frozen embryos with an adoptive family? I've done some research online and all the agencies I was able to locate are Christian and seem to screen prospective families based on religious criteria. We're not Christian, and we're put off by the anti-stem-cell research agenda that these agencies promote. What I'm hoping to find is a secular, non-profit group that helps families decide what to do with their excess embryos once they've chosen not to pursue any more pregnancies of their own.

Hi. I don't have any specific answers for you, but have encountered the same frustrations when exploring embryo adoption. In my case, however, my husband and I are interested in looking into the idea of adopting an embryo ourselves. When I did some preliminary research, I also found that the whole concept is fraught with political, religious and moral overtones that really don't play any part in my motives at all. We have one daughter by a successful IVF, but we simply don't have the resources to try again for a second child. When I spoke with my infertility doctor about this, she said that individual offices (like hers) do embryo adoption procedures, but it's usually a matter of matching a couple in her practice, who have no hope of using their own genetic ''material'', with another successful ex-patient who has indicated their interest in donating their extra embryos. So you might want to just call around to a few IVF clinics to see if they accept donated embryos and facilitate the process. Have you already talked to the clinic that is storing your frozen embryos? anon

I have an aquantance who adopted her embryos through Pacific Fertility Clinic. I don't have a lot of info but they were all clients I believe. I would check with your clinic. Liz

Gee, I could have written your post! I don't really know where to send you to find the answer, but I wanted to say that I am in the same boat. I would think that your RE could help you. You might try wherever you have your embryos stored and ask them for advice about where to donate. And stay away from those snowflakes people! Annie

If a secular, nonprofit organization exists that facilitates embryo donation, I'd love to hear about it. We're in the same situation as you (and many others; there are currently upwards of 600,000 frozen embryos in storage nationally). We're currently working with Diane Michelson, an adoption attorney in the Bay Area who also works with embryo donation, but have only just started the process. You can find her online. I'm not currently a member, but I think that www.resolve.org will also have information on embryo donation, and possibly can connect you to people who've already donated anon

Hi -- didn't see the original post, but think I got the gist of it from the responses. I recently found a website, called miracleswaiting, that allows people who have embryos and people who want embryos, to post messages. It remains anonymous unless you want to connect with someone and they want to connect with you. We have embryos, and after the posting, I received a large number of responses from very nice people who were having an even harder time conceiving than I did! There's no ''snowflake'' edge to the site itself, although some of the responses I got were maybe slightly ''snowflakey''! We are now close to a contract with a couple who actually live 10 minutes from our house, but who I doubt I would have met otherwise. Hope this helps -- good luck.
glad I found the website