What is Embryo Adoption?
Embryo adoption is a new way to adopt. Instead of adopting a child, embryo adoption is the process where the family who wants the child begins the adoption journey nine months earlier starting with pregnancy and culminating in childbirth.
Background of Embryo Adoption
With the increase in popularity of IVF, the fertility doctors discovered a new way to preserve embryos in frozen storage and thaw them for implantation later. This procedure helps a woman donor from going through a second egg harvesting procedure.
Situations requiring Embryo Donation
Embryo Donation is required for a selected group of parents:
- A situation where both the parents are infertile
- Couples who are at a high risk of passing on certain genetic disorders to their offspring
- Women who have experienced repeated IVF failures
Issues concerning Embryo Donation
Embryo donation is quite similar to egg donation. However, in this case, instead of borrowing the egg and the recipient husband’s sperm for fertilization, both the egg and the sperm are derived from donors.
There are many emotional impacts of embryo donation on both the individual as well as the couple. The concerns may be emotional, sexual, spiritual, financial or anything personal. One also needs to keep in mind that how the child will be educated about his or her respective origin. Hence it is important to find a counselor who has a detailed in-depth experience with the psychological impacts of fertility.
Facts Related to Embryo Adoption
Embryo donation can be anonymous where the donor and the recipient parties are not known to each other. It may also be done on an open basis where the identities of both the parties are shared. In this kind of a situation, the families agree to a relationship. Usually, a partially open type of arrangement is done where the parties know each other, however, their real names and other information are withheld which is required for providing some basic protection of privacy.
It is important that the adopting mother must be able to carry a child to term. Her doctor needs to give a letter which should mention that there are no complications of going through a pregnancy.
The adopting family has to select a medical fertility clinic, which will help in preparing the woman’s womb for the embryo transfer.
There are embryo adoption agencies which help with this unique adoption. Once the clients submit an application to an agency, it usually takes around 6 months for matching an adoptive family with a donor family.
The adoption is finally completed once the thawing and implantation of the embryos is done in the womb of the adoptive mother.
There are some legal documents which are used to transfer the embryos from the donating parents to the adoptive parents:
- A document which clearly states that the genetic parents will not have any rights and responsibilities post the embryo donation over any child or children born from their embryos
- A document which allows the recipient family to take all parental responsibilities towards the embryos and any child or children born from them.
Embryo Transfer Procedure in India
Embryo Transfer is the final stage of IVF where the embryos are ready and need to be deposited inside the uterus. This is a very difficult time for the couples as this wait time can be extremely stressful and the team at Raipur takes good care of their patients to help them overcome this stressful period.
Stages of Embryo Transfer
- Embryo Selection
- Embryo Transfer
- Recovery & Implantation
- What’s Next
During this stage, the embryos are assessed based on certain quality checks. Accordingly the best ones are selected and those having issues are not transferred. Those are destroyed.
This is done after three to five days post the egg retrieval. Frozen embryos are used in certain IVF cycles. Post the examination and two days of ovulation, the embryos are placed. Using a thin catheter, through the open area of the cervix, the embryos are gently placed within the uterus. This can be performed without anesthesia.
Recovery and Implantation
Now is the time when patients need to take a rest with very little physical movement. While the job of implantation is done now and there cannot be any modifications at this stage, still, a good diet and rest are recommended for the patient’s overall health.
Blood test is done after a fortnight of embryo transfer. This is done to measure the quantity of HCG or human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This is a hormone which is released post implantation and helps in detecting pregnancy. If it is positive, a further ultrasound is done, which helps in further confirmation and tracking of the pregnancy.
If the IVF is successful with a positive pregnancy, in that case, progesterone treatments are required to be continuously administered. With the passage of time, as the body starts producing normal hormones, it is stopped. At this stage, an OB, Gynecologist has to take charge of advising complete care during pregnancy.
In the event of unsuccessful pregnancy, the couple may decide to go for another round of IVF. However, fertility experts advise a wait time of two menstrual cycles. This is required so that the body can rest and recuperate and also on the other hands, the team at Raipur will study the case in details and make some changes in their next IVF cycle.
Also, if the frozen embryos have been kept and can be used for the transfer, in that case, the ovulation induction phase is not required to be repeated.
In the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment, the ovaries are stimulated with the help of fertility drugs. The result is that more eggs are produced than the normal count. These are then fertilized with the partners’ or a donor sperms to create embryos.
Due to this, there are excess embryos which are not required. Many people decide to select the best quality ones and freeze them. These can be used in the forthcoming cycles of IVF or even be donated.
Freezing of unused embryos is considered for the following reasons:
- It helps as now one can use the embryos in any forthcoming IVF or ICSI cycles. They need not go through the entire procedure of fertility drugs and egg collection. It helps in saving time and the risks and inconvenience are also avoided without having to go through the risks, expense, and inconvenience of using fertility drugs and going through the entire process again.
- If the treatment needs to be cancelled after egg collection (for example, if one has had a bad reaction to fertility drugs), the person is still able to store their embryos for future use.
- One wants to donate unused embryos, which may be required for research. It may also help in the treatment of other women.
- In case one is facing medical treatment such as for cancer that may impact fertility. This is one way for a woman to preserve her fertility.
Embryo Transfer - Fresh vs Frozen
Initially, women who opted for IVF went for fresh embryo transfer, which is also known as (ET). If there were a surplus of embryos, which are left over, then these could be frozen. This gives the woman a chance to use the frozen embryos for the next pregnancy. Also in situations where the first pregnancy was not successful, the woman can attempt it again using the frozen embryos.
Also, women having a high risk of OHSS or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can freeze all their embryos and do a frozen embryo transfer or FET at a later stage to avoid worsening the OHSS.