Donating your embryos

You can help in different ways,  one option is to donate your embryos to research, or you can donate to another couple.

When you have completed your fertility treatment, often one of the hardest decisions you make is what you want to do with any extra embryos you have. Sometimes patients do not want to discard their embryos and decide that they want to help others.

Using Your Embryos For Research

Our embryology teams at CARE Fertility undertake research programmes licensed by the HFEA and work with scientists around the world striving towards treatment solutions for the future. One of the biggest challenges for researchers in this field is the availability of embryos.

If you feel that you would like to help by donating your embryos, we’d be happy to answer any questions you have and guide you through the process.

You will be required to complete consent forms as part of the process. If you would like any additional information regarding our current research projects, please speak to a member of the team at your CARE clinic.

Helping other couples with your embryos

If you’ve been able to start your own family with CARE, you know how it feels to go through IVF treatment – and how it feels when it goes well. Not everyone is so lucky, but with your help by becoming an embryo donor, we could give another couple a better chance of success.

Could embryo donation be for me?

If after a round of IVF treatment you have frozen embryos you aren’t going to use, you might be able to donate them to another couple.

To donate your embryos, you and your partner will need to be aware of your family history, and you shouldn’t have any known genetic problems. The egg provider must have been under 36 years and the sperm provider under 46 years at the time the embryos were created If you fit these criteria, you could be exactly who we’re looking for.

What does donating my embryos involve?

Medical assessment

If you decide you’d like to donate your embryos , both you and your partner will need to fill out a detailed medical questionnaire before you meet a nurse from our donation team. Your nurse will then talk you through all the details. You'll also both need to have some additional blood tests to check you meet the criteria for donation.  

Counselling

All of our embryo donors are offered a session of implications counselling; this session is an opportunity to talk about any ethical and legal issues, share any questions you might have, and make absolutely certain that it’s the right decision for you. 

Donation

If after your consultation and counselling sessions you’re happy to go ahead with your donation, we’ll continue to store your embryos for use by another couple when needed.

Questions you should consider

It is important that you take your time and think carefully about all the different aspects of donating your embryos.  Here are some of the key questions you will likely want to consider - it’s your decision so you need to reach your own conclusion in your own time.

  • How might I feel about a child who is biologically mine/ours being raised by another family?
  • Should we tell our child/children and how might they feel about having a biological sibling growing up with other parents and they will likely never know them?
  • Will we want to tell our wider family and friends that we donated our embryos to help another family?
  • How will any children born from as a result of our donation feel?

 

FAQs

Any time following your donation, you have a right to find out:

  • If your donation has been successful
  • The number of children born as a result of your donation
  • The gender and year of birth of any children born following your donation

All egg, sperm and embryo donors in the UK must agree to be identifiable to anyone conceived from their donation.

When the child reaches the age of 16, they can ask the HFEA for non-identifying information about you (such as a physical description, your year of birth and your medical history). When the child reaches 18, they are entitled to identifying information, including your name and last known address.

Women who are unable to
produce or use their own eggs require donated eggs or embryos and the following are the sorts of
reasons why:

  • Premature menopause
  • Risk of genetic abnormality if the woman is a carrier of a genetic disorder
  • Poor ovarian response to hormonal stimulation
  • Absence of the ovaries
  • Ovarian failure due to chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy treatment


If the man also has a low sperm count or no sperm then embryo donation offers a solution to their
combined fertility problems. Single women with the above issues would also require embryo donation,
but due to legal parenthood regulation may only use donor embryos created with donor sperm.

Physical characteristics such as hair and eye colour, height, weight, build, complexion, race and
blood group are used for matching. The recipients of your embryos are also able to read a redacted
version of the personal description and goodwill message provided by yourself on the HFEA donor
information form.