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Embryo Donation + The Miracle Snowflake Babies

Your family is complete, thanks to IVF, and you have 5 embryos remaining. You are forced to make a difficult decision in what to do with them. The options for these precious embabies are: 1. Donate to science; 2. Discard; 3. Donate to others who can't conceive using their own embryos.

You just found out you are unable to conceive children using your sperm or eggs, even with the assistance of IVF. Experiencing pregnancy is important to you, and you are trying to figure out your options.

Both of these scenarios are complicated with a lot to think about, but embryo donation can be the answer for both. Embryo donation is when fertilized embryos are frozen and stored then donated to individuals who cannot conceive with embryos that contain their DNA. There are multiple steps involved in addition to understanding all of the implications, but embryo donation provides these tiny lives - frozen in time - the chance for a beautiful life.


After making the decision to donate their embryos. The donors relinquish their legal rights to the embryos and they are stored with a fertility clinic or embryo bank. The medical history and other important information is kept in a file for future families. The embryos are then stored and frozen until a match is made.

People seeking donor embryos review embryo profiles provided by the fertility clinic. The files include medical history, in some cases pictures of the donors from childhood, how many pregnancies the donors were able to carry to term, the quality and success rates of the embryo set, and any other pertinent information. Once a set has been matched, the rights are then transferred to the parents which usually results in a storage fee payment.

After all of the paperwork has been filled out and processed, the IVF process begins. In this case, the woman does not require the same medical treatment as someone using their embryos. This is because there is no need to stimulate ovulation. Basically, the woman takes medication to ensure her body is ready to have a successful transfer. There are still injections involved but not as many as a typical IVF protocol. The fertility clinic staff will create a calendar for the woman to ensure her body is prepared and the optimal environment is created for the baby to implant and grow.

On the day of the transfer, an embryologist will carry the embryo(s) into the exam room where they are transferred via a tube to the uterus. From there, an ultrasound will display a tiny fleck of light which shows the embryo(s) transferred. At this point you are pregnant until proven otherwise in the fertility world. So rest up and try to stay busy for the next 11-12 days.

After roughly two weeks, a blood test is done which indicates pregnancy. Two days later, another blood test is done to make sure those numbers have doubled. This growth shows thing are progressing. Two weeks following that, the first ultrasound and heartbeat occurs and then after another ultrasound 2 weeks later, you have officially graduated from the fertility clinic.

Things to Know

Oftentimes, clinics will provide a counseling session so that the parents can talk through what it means to carry and raise a child from embryo donation. Understanding that this child has a genetic history and the importance that they know that history so that they are prepared as they get older to know their ethnicity, their medical traits, and likeliness for certain tendencies. The counselor will provide resources and support groups for those interested.

The contact with the donors depends. Some embryo banks allow the potential parents to talk to the donors prior to selecting so they can ask the donors questions. Other places are more private. The level of communication that transpires is up to the family receiving the embryos. In most cases, the city where the donors live is given so the parents can ensure a proper distance exists between families.

Snow Flake Babes

The term "snowflake baby" is obvious given these embryos can be frozen for years. There was a story in the news about an embryo that was frozen longer than her mom was alive. It is truly miraculous how much these babies survive. They are frozen, stored for years, unthawed and transferred into a person to be loved and carried.

Even though they don't share the same DNA. The woman carrying them feels their kicks, the baby hears her voice, and the mother is proving that motherly environment. The bond is the same as it would be had DNA been shared.

Sharing their special story with them as they get older evolves as they understand more. Common terms for the donors can be donor people, donors, or other terms the parents agree to. As they get older, the details can be shared and the picture more clear. Regardless of how or when the story is shared, these babies have miraculous stories and are so dearly loved. At the end of the day, that is what matters most.

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