Embryo Donation

The transfer of viable frozen embryos from one family to another can be an amazing gift. The chance at parenthood is priceless. But the process of embryo donation, also sometimes referred to as embryo adoption, can be a legally complex one.

For this reason, you’ll need experienced attorneys to guide you through your embryo adoption contract in Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia. Jennifer has years of experience helping families to grow through embryo donation. Contact us now for your embryo donation contract consultation, or learn more about the process of embryo donation below.

What Is Embryo Donation?

When a couple goes through the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF), multiple embryos are often created and frozen. In some situations, there may be additional viable embryos that are unused, perhaps because the couple was successful at completing their family or decided to stop the IVF process. That couple may wish to donate those viable embryos to someone else who also hopes to become a parent.

Why Donate Embryos?

Single parents, same-sex couples, or couples who are unable to conceive a child on their own can all benefit from embryo donation. Some of these intended parents may be able to carry the embryo and give birth to a child themselves, while others may transfer the embryo to a gestational surrogate.

Unused embryos leftover from IVF processes will either remain frozen in storage (which can rack up a fee), be destroyed, or they can be donated to other families or, in some cases, to scientific research. Your donated embryos can help people become parents — a desire that you’ll likely be able to relate to.

If you want to help other hopeful parents achieve their dreams of a family, contact us now to discuss a MD, VA or D.C. embryo donor contract.

Embryo Donor Requirements

The specific requirements for embryo donors often vary depending on the fertility clinic and embryo storage facility involved. But generally, the man and woman who created the embryos must meet criteria such as:

  • The man and woman must have been 18-35 when the embryos were created.
  • The man and woman must have been free from any transmissible diseases.
  • The man and woman must have been free from any inheritable genetic disorders.

There may also be a minimum number of frozen embryos stored in order to donate.

Some programs require that intended parents adopt the embryo.  If you go through embryo adoption, intended parents must be screened and complete a home study like they would if they were adopting an infant. The requirements for intended parents who wish to adopt an embryo in D.C., VA or MD are similar to the requirements for parents who wish to adopt a child, because in both situations you would be raising a child that is not genetically related to you, and that comes with physical, mental and emotional implications that parents should understand.

Most programs allow for embryo donation.  In this process, no home study is required.  Embryo donation can be done anonymously, but more often, embryo donors are known to the intended parents. If donors and intended parents seek one another through an embryo agency or fertility clinic, there will be a matching process, not unlike in an agency adoption or program-assisted surrogacy. Or, donors and parents can search for one another independently without the use of an agency, and we’ll help you communicate and negotiate.

The Legal Process of Embryo Donation

The laws regarding embryo donation are unique, because they’re somewhere in between the transfer of property and the adoption of a child. Jennifer and Catelyn can help you understand this process and create an embryo donor contract that appropriately reflects your individual situation.

When an embryo donor and recipient have found one another, they’ll each need separate legal representation to advocate for them in the embryo adoption contract phase. When both parties have agreed to the terms of the legal contracts, the ownership of the embryos is transferred from the donors to the recipients. This includes terminating any parental rights of the donors, which we can handle.

Contact us to learn more about the legal steps required for your embryo donation contract and how we can help you legally protect yourself and your family throughout the embryo adoption process in MD, VA and D.C.

The Medical Process of Embryo Donation

If you’ve already gone through the process of IVF and your viable embryos are already in storage, then as a donor, your medical process is complete. For the recipients of your embryos, however, the medical process is just beginning.

Once the embryo adoption agreement is finalized, the intended parents will receive ownership and all legal rights over the embryos. At that point, the embryos are theirs to do with as they see fit. Typically, the embryos will eventually be thawed and transferred either into the uterus of an intended mother or a gestational surrogate in the hopes of a successful pregnancy.

A child born from an embryo adoption may have biological half- or full siblings through their donors, and there are sometimes emotional bonds created between the two families involved in an embryo donation agreement. So unlike egg or sperm donation agreements, embryo donation agreements may involve some form of contact between the two families that lasts long after the legal process is complete. This is entirely up to the parties involved and the contract that they agree to.

How We Help Embryo Donors and Recipients in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia

While we do not “match” embryo donors and intended parents, we can help you navigate the complex legal processes of embryo donation and adoption if you’re beginning the process of searching for another party, or if you’ve found someone to donate to/adopt from. We’ll help you develop an embryo adoption agreement that protects the donors as well as ensures the parental rights of the recipients of the embryos.

Contact us to begin your embryo adoption contract in Washington D.C., Maryland or Virginia now.

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax