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I Can Adopt an Embryo?

Snowflakes ® Embryo Adoption Program, By Kimberly Tyson, Vice President

The United States has seen the use of in vitro fertilization treatments growing at a rate of 4-6% per year for the past decade. This means that every year, more human embryos are being created in laboratories, and those that are not used for IVF transfer are cryogenically stored.

There are now well over 1,000,000 frozen human embryos in the United States. The Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program was established 25 years ago. The purpose was to empower people who no longer plan to use their embryos to choose the families who could adopt their embryos and give them life!

The Snowflakes program is now quickly approaching the birth of its 1,100th Snowflakes baby. One of those adopting families is Steven and Alana. They adopted a set of embryos that had been frozen for 20+ years! They carried and gave birth to two sons from their adopted embryos – Tyler was frozen for 21 years, and Jayden was frozen for 23 years. The brothers also have a naturally conceived middle sister.

The Snowflakes program believes in applying the best practices of adoption to the exchange of embryos from one family to another. The hoped-for outcome is the birth of a non-genetically related baby into the adopting family. This is generally recognized as adoption, and children are not donated to families.

The program has helped over 2,000 families who have placed 9,000+ embryos for adoption. Families are especially happy to have the ability to choose the family they are matched with and get to know that family. Unlike fertility clinic donation programs, which are generally anonymous, Snowflakes encourages families to communicate with one another. We let the placing family know when children are born from the adoption.

Steven and Alana have developed a great relationship with their embryo-placing family – so much so that the older genetic sister from that family invited all three of their children to participate in her wedding!

Both families are grateful for the openness between them. It is a blessing to have a connection to the biological family and the health history that this offers the boys. The wedding was an opportunity to enjoy getting to know the extended family, who invited them into their clan just like they had always been a part of.

The Snowflakes program provides all of the expertise needed to complete a successful embryo adoption. More placing and adopting families apply to the program every month. The matching services are done by human beings, not computers or Excel lists. The legal contracts are thorough and never contested. Embryo shipment is included in the single fee structure. The program has built a large network of referral fertility clinics, so families are not limited to just one clinic choice.

There are several ways to obtain human embryos, but the Snowflakes program demonstrates the value of an organized program managed by experts.

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