The Embryo Donation Program

In addition to trying to match donor and recipient's ethnic background and physical characteristics, the program also works to ensure that other important standards are met. Your doctor and fertility clinic will explain to you how the embryo donation programs works. In addition, here are some things for you to consider:

• What types of screening tests are performed to check the health of the donors? The Food and Drug Administration recommends that the donors were young and healthy without serious medical conditions or health concerns. Also, the embryos should undergo the proper health screening and testing required for all egg and sperm donors. (This includes medical history, physical exam, STD check, routine blood work, and ethnically relevant genetic screening.)

• Is there a legal contract between the embryo donors and the recipient? It's very important that you have a legally binding agreement between you and the embryo donors. Some fertility clinics will provide you with a form or suggested format for a contract. That is helpful and may serve as a good starting point. However, most people agree that this is such an important step in your life that it's best to involve a reproductive law attorney. The key feature is that you have a legally binding contract stating that the donor(s) give up all rights to the embryos and any children conceived from them.

• Is psychological counseling offered or required? Embryo donation and the IVF process can take a toll on everyone involved, both from a physical and an emotional standpoint. That's why many medical professionals recommend professional counseling for both the donors and the recipient couple. The counseling process will address various ethical and social issues and your own set of particular circumstances. This is such a complex time in your life; it's in your own best interest to gain as much support and understanding as possible.

• What are your pregnancy success rates with the embryo donation process? You'll need to ask your particular fertility clinic about their pregnancy success rates. No national statistics exist on the pregnancy success rates of embryo donation because of the small number of embryo donation cases performed nationwide.

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