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By Nancy Freeman-Carroll, Psy.D.
Most parents get a little nervous the first time their young child asks the question, “Where do babies come from?” This question, and the answer, are both more complicated when the child asking was conceived with assisted conception—IVF, donor egg, or donor sperm. Although it often makes parents squirm, this inquiry is an important step in a child’s awareness of himself and the people around him.

Embryo donation is a form of third party reproduction. It is defined as the giving — without compensation — of embryos remaining after one couple’s IVF treatments, to another person or couple, followed by the placement of those embryos into the recipient woman’s uterus to facilitate pregnancy and childbirth in the recipient. Most often, the embryos are donated after the woman for whom they were originally created has successfully carried one or more pregnancies to term. The resulting child is considered the child of the woman who carries it and gives birth, and not the child of the donor. This is the same principle as is followed in egg donation or sperm donation.

As a result of in vitro fertilization (IVF), embryos that are not transferred to the woman’s uterus on the first attempt at pregnancy (fresh cycle) may be cryopreserved (frozen).  You should ask your fertility clinic what options are available to you for these embryos.

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