Embryo adoption gives hope to patients struggling with infertility

Published: Apr. 30, 2019 at 5:16 PM CDT
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Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 10 percent of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble getting or staying pregnant.

Aurora BayCare Medical Center offers patients struggling with infertility to carry a non-biological child through embryo adoption.

Tina Van Egeren, the Fertility Clinic donor coordinator at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, works with patients struggling to start or grow their families.

"We're always looking for the best success and positive outcome for our patients," she said.

That means providing them with different options, including embryo adoption.

"Embryo adoption came out when couples that already went through the IVF process had remaining embryos and decided that they wished to donate them in order to help other patients continue growing their family or start their family," said Van Egeren.

The process is considered a traditional adoption requiring legal paperwork, screening and sometimes even a home study.

"I think people do like that it's a true adoption, because once the paperwork is complete, the legal portion, they own those embryos, and those are their children so to speak," said Van Egeren.

While the Aurora BayCare Medical Center Fertility Clinic offers the transfer procedure for adopted embryos, patients get those embryos from an outside agency focusing primarily in embryo adoption.

"That you are working with a company that will look at the same standards we want to accept those embryos," said Van Egeren. "It's just good that you're through a clinic that is setting the guidelines, but also that the agency is willing to work with you."

The cost of embryo adoption varies based on the agency, and while success rates at Aurora BayCare Medical Center are above the national average, it is not guaranteed.

Van Egeren says many patients have expressed interest in learning more about embryo adoption though few have followed through. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services believes up to 60,000 frozen embryos across the country could be used for adoption.

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