What is embryo adoption and what are its advantages?

Do you know the difference between biological, genetic or adoptive parents and children? Did you know that thousands of embryos are discarded or stored indefinitely? She continues reading and finds out all about embryo adoption.

Last update: September 17, 2022

In embryo adoption, a woman becomes pregnant through embryo transfer. The mother who receives the embryo, although it is not its genetic mother, will be the biological one.

The origin of the embryos is heterologous, that is, they are the product of the union of gametes that do not come from the adoptive parents. The embryos are donated by couples who have undergone fertilization treatments in vitro. Or they are created from donated sperm and eggs.

This is an option for couples with fertility problems or with hereditary diseases. As well as for single women with ovulatory disorders or homosexual couples who wish to conceive.



Advantages and complications of embryo adoption

Embryo adoption is less invasive and takes less time than fertilization in vitro. It has high success rate. The chances of pregnancy vary between 19.1% and 52.4%. For its part, the rate of live births ranges from 14% to 33%.

It allows adoptive parents to experience pregnancy and birth.

Apart from what has been said, it is necessary to clarify that the transfer of embryos, adopted or not, It is a procedure that is not without risk.. It has been associated with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, premature delivery, low birth weight or macrosomia, among other complications.

On the other hand, the embryos to be transferred can be fresh or frozen/thawed (cryopreserved). There is controversy about which of the two options is better.

Furthermore, there is a growing controversy over the results of an investigation published by Hargreave and collaborators in the journal JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association), suggesting a possible relationship between frozen embryo transfer and childhood cancer.

These results must be taken with caution until new studies provide conclusive information.

Transferred embryos have been associated with some complications in pregnancy and childbirth. However, the studies are not conclusive.


families experience

Another different perspective from which to approach the subject is that of adoptive families. Embryo adoption is one of the most complex forms of collaborative breeding.

Some authors use the term embryo adoption, exclusively to refer to the donation in which the donor chooses the adopter, maintaining contact with him and, sometimes, also with the engendered child. This would be in contrast to anonymous donation mediated by health institutions.

Usually, the experiences of both donors and adopters are positive. Both parties feel satisfied to work together for the welfare of the future human being.

Diverse extended families are built, in which biological, genetic and adoptive parents and children usually live together, expanding the concept of family. However, it is essential that donors maintain a certain distance to allow children their healthy development.

It is advisable to have expert psychological support that allows all parties involved to understand and assimilate the process.

Embryo adoption as a solution to cryopreservation

Cryopreservation consists of store human cells and tissues at low temperatures to stop all their biological activity, without damaging or destroying them. With this technique, the embryos remain viable with their development potential unchanged. This is how advances in the area allow up to 97% of embryos to survive.

However, once the reproductive project of their parents has been fulfilled, a considerable number of embryos left over from the processes are cryopreserved without a defined destination. One of the possibilities against this is donation for reproductive purposes.

In this way, after achieving their own gestation, you can help others make their wish to be parents come true. And simultaneously, give that embryo a chance.

There are many cryopreserved embryos that do not have a specific purpose. The donation could be a solution to this accumulation.

another form of motherhood

The issue of embryo adoption is complex. The long-term effects in all spheres: biological, emotional, psychological and social are still unknown.

It is essential to find out the current legislation in your country. Also, seek advice from qualified medical professionals.

But maybe, the most important thing is to analyze and reflect deeply according to our values, beliefs, preferences, desires and expectations. Understanding that, in case of making the decision, once a human being is engendered, we will have a responsibility with him regardless of his origin.

An embryo that is adopted will come into existence due to the decision of its adoptive parents. However, being a father does not imply becoming a property, but rather a commitment. It is about building links beyond genes.

You might be interested…