Using donated embryos is a suitable option for those unable to use their own sperm and eggs. The embryos may be obtained from a known or unknown donor, and are used as part of the regular IVF process.
You may prefer to find a person or couple willing to consider embryo donation from your own social circles, including acquaintances, family or friends who may have excess embryos from previous IVF cycles. Letting people know about your fertility journey and asking those around you for help can feel scary, but you may be surprised at who is willing to consider donation.
Some people choose to seek a connection with a potential embryo donor by publishing an advertisement in an online forum or printed material. Prior to officially publishing an advertisement, it is a legal requirement to obtain approval by sending a copy of the advertisement to the Department of Human Services.
People undergoing IVF through Newlife IVF may have embryos they are willing to donate for the purpose of helping someone who is experiencing problems with fertility.
Once you have connected with a potential embryo donor, please contact your fertility specialist who can assist in arranging the necessary screening tests and treatment plans for both you, your partner (where relevant) and your potential embryo donor(s). Following a medical and genetic health assessment of all the individuals involved, as well as the stored embryos, the next steps would involve attending both individual and group counselling sessions with your potential donor(s).
Genetic testing will be offered to you and explained in detail, as this may be something you want to undertake. Our genetics team will guide you through this process.
Once you have completed all required steps and consented to treatment using donated embryos, you will be prepared to undergo a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) procedure. The donated embryo will be transferred into the recipient woman’s uterus, in the hope that it will result in an ongoing pregnancy.
For more information, read how the IVF process works.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) clinics have guidelines about the parameters for embryos to be donated. Before we can commence, we must first determine the suitability of the potential donor embryos. Read more on the eligibility requirements here.
The next step is for each gamete provider (egg and sperm provider) to undergo a medical and genetic health assessment so that we are informed as much as possible about the embryos intended for donation. We ask that you attend a consultation with one of our fertility specialists to ensure we have the most up-to-date health information for you. Any outstanding blood tests, such as post-quarantine blood/urine testing, can be ordered.
You will also have an appointment with a genetic counsellor or clinical geneticist to review the results of your and your donor’s reproductive genetic carrier screening, which is performed to assess the risk of genetic conditions in your offspring.
Please be aware that there are fees involved in the medical and genetics review. There will be separate fees for the fertility specialist consultations, as well as for Newlife IVF’s medical and genetics assessment of the embryos.
Under Victorian legislation, embryo donors and recipients must attend at least three counselling sessions prior to donating embryos. One of these sessions must be a group session (with all parties). To understand what is covered in these sessions, read this counselling guide to give you an overall idea of what to expect. Your counsellor will also provide and explain the consent forms involved.
The information on this page is certainly not exhaustive, and we recommend that you refer to the information provided by the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA) to gain a more complete understanding of the issues pertaining to the use of donor embryos. If the use of donor embryos is a suitable option for you, our fertility specialists will also dedicate time to helping you navigate this process.
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