Should embryo donors and recipients meet?

Even close to the start of formal adoptions of children controversy has raged about the relationship between the biological mother and adoptive parents. This has developed from not even telling a child that they were adopted into a more open relationship in the form of open adoptions in which the mother, child and parents may not only meet but be involved in each other’s lives.

In advanced reproductive technology that now applies to open sperm donation, egg donation and most recently embryo donation.

In a new study, British researchers got a sneak peak at what members of these ultramodern families might experience when they meet in person for the first time.

The researchers spoke by email with 17 embryo providers, mostly women had had leftover embryos following in vitro fertilization, and 28 recipients who had 43 children, about their unfolding relationships.

The report in Human Reproduction explores what the study participants view as the advantages and disadvantages of communicating openly with one another.

“Some of them created these amazing families. Then, of course, these are like all human relationships, some you maintain and flourish, and others don’t,” said lead author Lucy Frith, a bioethicist at the University of Liverpool in England.

Frith and her colleagues found that embryo providers and recipients who were in touch with one another and their children generally perceived the contact as positive.

“The contact helped alleviate their potential misgivings,” Frith said in a phone interview.

“Different families will want to approach it in different ways,” she said. “It’s part of the evolution of seeing reproductive technologies of creating families and families having biographies, rather than just a medical technique.”

The biggest challenges for couples on both sides of the experience concerned fears about maintaining boundaries and overcoming the challenges of geographic distance, the study found.

Embryo donation is a wonderful way for couples with embryos they do not plan to use to “pay it forward” and creating a relationship between the donors and recipients may enhance the process.

At RPMG we make embryos that couples want to donate available to our patients who may not have been so successful, or they can donate them through outside organizations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *