Tuesday, June 09, 2009

An Update on Embryo Donation

What do you do with your embryos? It's a dilemma that many couples and individuals who have gone through IVF treatment face, as there is an estimated 400,000 to 500,000 cryopreserved embryos in the United States alone. You are done having your own children and you are not sure what to do with the embryos you have cryopreserved at your IVF center. As the years go on, you are charged more each year to maintain them. It is a very real dilemma for a lot of people.

Embryo donation is a viable option and it has received more press with the passage of the "Option of Adoption Act," which will take effect July 1, 2009 in the state of Georgia. Under the new law, "A child born to a recipient intended parent as the result of embryo relinquishment ... shall be presumed to be the legal child of the recipient intended parent," the new law states. HB 388 does not require the recipients to be a married heterosexual couple, which I was afraid of, but they do require that all parties sign an agreement, which is what I do for my embryo donation clients.

Most people believe that the difference between an embryo adoption and a donation is that the adoption is open and the donation is anonymous, which is not true. I have drafted or reviewed embryo donation contracts where the recipient and donor are known to each other and have worked on contracts where they are not. It is all up to the parties involved as to how that is handled.

With the economy still an issue, there are couples that need a third party to help them create their family, but they simply cannot afford it. And, there are thousands of couples with excess embryos cryopreserved for years. It's a very personal decision, but for those who decide to donate, the potential for joy is endless.

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