One of the options for patients undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) techniques with remaining embryos, meaning high quality embryos that can be cryopreserved for the future, is to donate these embryos to other couples for reproductive purposes. In most cases, these embryos come from couples that have gone through double donation treatments (egg and sperm), and after achieving their goal of becoming parents, decide to donate their embryos so that other couples can achieve their own.

What are the advantages of adopting these embryos?

First of all, there is no waiting list. The embryos are cryopreserved and only an adequate endometrial preparation is required to proceed with the embryo thawing and transfer, all in the same day. We always try to assign the embryos that are most compatible with the blood type and physical characteristics, although it is not always possible.

The treatment for the endometrial preparation is quite simple and comfortable. It consists of a few transdermal oestrogen patches or oral capsules and vaginal progesterone tablets. With just one ultrasound scan we can determine the ideal time to program the cycle and therefore significantly reduce the number of visits to the clinic. Thanks to the improvement in cryopreservation techniques, embryo survival reaches 100%, and gestation rates are 45%, with a 36% implantation.

Since it does not require the selection of a compatible donor or controlled ovarian stimulation processes, and the IVF laboratory work is limited to thawing, observing and finally transferring the surviving embryos, the economic cost is significantly reduced. A wide variety of patients choose embryo adoption. Couples that choose to donate their frozen embryos for moral or religious reasons; couples facing the possibility of double donation as a solution to their reproductive problem choose embryo adoption; single women who decide they want to become mothers; couples that cannot afford the economic cost of other types of treatment, as well as other personal situations.

Finally, embryo adoption presents one further advantage, which in this case is not associated with the couples that adopt, but rather with those that freely donate their embryos. The act of helping other couples achieve their desired pregnancy is an emotional benefit and provides a valuable destination for the embryos that would have remain cryopreserved.

Dr. Dori Rodríguez, biologist of Instituto Bernabeu

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