What happens with leftover embryos?
After we had our embryo transfer the embryologist said to me “What do you want to do with your remaining embryos?” I was so focused on my transfer that I didn”t even think about anything left over. I quickly responded with “How much time do I have to think about it?” I was told a day as the next day would tell us which embryos were viable to freeze and which ones were not. In our case we had two left over embryos that were such poor quality we let them go. We chose not to freeze them. However, had they been good quality we would have had to make a decision – should we freeze them for later, let them go, donate them to another couple of donate them to science.
In the USA alone there are over 400,000 embryos on ice (cryopreserved). The numbers globally are unknown.
However, for parents all over the world this is an important question. There are several options.
- Do nothing. Keep them in the freezer; you may decide later you want to add to your family. Or you may decide you want to be buried or cremated with your embryos. (***Yes I am being completely serious).
- Destroy them – or let them go. That requires completing paperwork stating your wish is to have any of your left over embryos thawed and destroyed.
- Donate them yourself to another couple who are facing reproductive difficulties and want to have online casino a baby. You can donate anonymously through your clinic or you can have an open donation where you choose the intended parent and keep in contact. In many cases the children meet as they will be full siblings and become an extended part of your family.
- Donate them back to your clinic for research, or donate them to research to another organization.
- Donate your embryos to a clinic that specializes in embryo donation or an organization that specializes in embryo donation. These clinics or organizations will place these embryos in their storage facility and match intended parents with these embryos. These clinics and agencies charge intended parents’ money to be matched.
The costs for storage vary – from 300.00 per year to 1500.00 per year depending on the clinic you received treatment from and what their program requirements are. ***Embryos can remain on ice potentially forever – in fact there are many patients in the world who are complete with their family building who view these embryos as unborn children and are paying a yearly fee to their clinic to keep these embryos on ice until the patient dies and then those embryos will be buried or cremated with the patient.
As you can see there are many options to decide from – my only piece of advice:
When you have your last child, wait at least a year before you make any big decisions like this. Circumstances and people’s minds change over time. Keep your options open. You will make the right decision for your family.