The Florida Bar
American Bar Association
Weston Florida Chamber of Commerce

On Embryo Donation

The decision to start a family is not a light one and comes with many considerations. This is especially true for couples or individuals who are unable to conceive due to medical conditions or members of the LGBTQ+ community, for example. One of the first decisions to be made in this case is what method of family building is best. There are many options, the current methods of which are constantly evolving while new methods are emerging.

Embryo donation is one of these newer options and is not quite as well-known as some alternatives such as surrogacy, in vitro, or adoption. However, embryo donation is a fantastic choice for many prospective parents. During in vitro fertilization, more embryos than desired by the parents may be created, presenting the parents with the option to destroy, donate to research, or cryopreserve the remaining embryos. The cryopreserved embryos may be saved for future use by the parents or donated to embryo donation banks, with the latter option being where the embryos used in embryo donation originate. This provides unique benefits to potential recipients.

Before the benefits can be discussed, it is important to outline the types of embryo donation that are possible. The most popular option is an anonymous embryo donation. As the name suggests, this donation takes place without contact between the donor and recipient parties. Non-identifying information may be shared to ensure a good match, but that is often the extent of knowledge about the embryo in this scenario.

Alternatively, open embryo donation sees both parties, donor and recipient, involved in the process. The extent of contact varies and is left to the parties to determine what each is comfortable with. The process for open embryo donation in many ways models an open adoption. A mental health report for both parties is strongly recommended, and a home-study can be requested by the donor. This process is slightly more costly than the anonymous option as it involves more collaboration between the parties, as well as two attorneys, a set for the recipient and a set for the donor. However, for some recipients, this increased contact is of great benefit, allowing them more control over who their donated embryo’s parents are and what lifestyles they lead.

Embryo donation of either type is considerably cheaper, costing thousands less than surrogacy, IVF, or adoption. No fees are due to the donating family, while such fees would be a factor in egg donations. The timeline for donation is much shorter than that of adoption as many embryos are currently available for donation. With embryo donation, it is even possible to find a donor outside of a clinic, via social media or the internet for example, and have the embryo transferred to the recipient’s local clinic for implantation, cutting down travel costs while maintaining options.

I offer my legal services for both anonymous and open embryo donations, consulting in the former, and representing in the latter. As someone with 30+ years of experience in fertility law, I am more than equipped to help you build the family of your dreams, and I work closely with embryo donation facilities to ensure a simple, streamlined, and affordable road to your goals.

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