If you have completed your IVF treatment and still have stored frozen embryos from your cycles, you may decide to donate those embryos to another woman or couple who are having trouble conceiving.
We understand that this is a complex decision, and you will need to consider the ethical and social implications of your choice. You may wish to make an anonymous donation, or give your embryos to someone you know. You may prefer to donate them to training and research. At Hunter IVF, we offer specialist counselling for couples wishing to donate their embryos as well as for recipients.
Should we donate our embryos?
There are a number of reasons you might consider donating your embryos, including:
- believing it is ethically preferable to donate rather than dispose of embryos
- wanting to help a couple you know who cannot conceive
- feeling compassion for other couples struggling with fertility.
How does embryo donation work?
As a donor, you’ll need to attend at least two counselling sessions to discuss the implications of donating your embryos. We then screen your blood for Hepatitis B and C, HIV, Cystic Fibrosis and Karyotype, and you’ll complete some consent forms that provide indentifying and non-identifying information about you both, and your parents.
Some embryos cannot be donated – if you or your partner have genetic disorders, or carry the risk of any inherited disease or your embryos were created using donor gametes, we cannot use your embryos to treat another IVF patient.
The Donor Program Manager can help you with any questions or concerns throughout the process, and you are under no obligation to proceed if you change your mind at any time during the process.
Can a donor embryo help me conceive?
If other fertility treatments have been unsuccessful, or if you carry a genetic defect that could cause an abnormality in a child you conceive, you may be eligible to use donor embryos.
The success rates of using donor embryos depends on many factors, including the embryo quality which may be lower than the embryos the donor couple used for their own IVF treatment. Typically, we have found the pregnancy rate is between 10-20% per embryo transfer.
Legal implications of donor embryos
A Central Register is kept of every donor conceived child, and once they turn 18 they can access some identifying information on their donors. Donors are notified of any release of information.
Donors do not have any legal rights or responsibilities to children born as a result of their donation, but those children may be able to trace their biological origins through the NSW HEALTH Central ART Donor Register.
To find out more about our donor embryo program, email firstname.lastname@example.org