Donor Embryos – Melbourne, Victoria | Newlife IVF
A yellow and pink shape representing an embryo

Donor embryo recipients

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.

Who may need donor embryos

The use of donor embryos is an option for those who require both donor sperm and donor eggs.

Obtaining donor embryos

Known donor
Known donor

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.

Advertising for a donor embryo
Advertising for a donor embryo

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.

Through Newlife IVF
Through Newlife IVF

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.

A blue shape representing an embryo

What happens once I have connected with a potential embryo donor?

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.

What does embryo donation involve?

Step 1: Eligibility

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.

Step 2: Medical and Genetics Review

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.

Step 3: Counselling and Consent

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.

Getting started

Call (03) 8080 8933 or email [email protected] to book an appointment. Alternatively, complete the call-back form at the bottom of this page and we’ll be in touch soon!

Where can I find more information?

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.

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the screening process for embryo donors?

    Embryo donors are carefully screened to ensure they are healthy, fertile and not at an increased risk of passing on an inherited genetic condition to their offspring. Screening typically includes medical history assessment, physical examination, genetic testing, infectious disease screening, and psychological evaluation.

  • Are donor embryos anonymous?

    People who donate their embryos may choose to be an anonymous donor (known as an identity release [IR] donor) or through known donation arrangements. In IR donation, the donor’s identity remains confidential until the donor-conceived child turns 18 years old, while in known donation, the recipient has access to the donor’s identity and information.

  • What are the legal considerations for using donor embryos?

    The legal requirement for using donor embryos varies depending on the country, state and jurisdiction. In Victoria, donors must have initial screening, mandatory counselling and consenting, post-quarantine screening, and genetic carrier screening. During counselling, a thorough discussion of legislative implications occurs, including the legal rights and responsibilities of donors and recipients, the rights of the donor-conceived person, and future implications.

  • What are the success rates of using donor embryos?

    Success rates of using donor embryos in IVF depend on various factors, including the quality of the donated embryos, the age and fertility status of the embryo donors, the age and fertility status of the recipient, and the expertise of the fertility clinic. On average, the success rate of using donor embryos in IVF ranges between 40–60% per embryo transfer.

  • What are the emotional considerations of using donor embryos?

    There are various emotional considerations for both the embryo recipient and the donor, including feelings of gratitude, grief and loss, and adjusting to a different idea of family-building. Newlife IVF offers comprehensive counselling services to assist donors and recipients in thoroughly considering their emotional responses and help provide informed decision-making.

  • What are the ethical considerations for using donor embryos?

    Ethical considerations for using donated embryos include ensuring the informed consent of all parties involved, maintaining confidentiality and privacy, preventing exploitation of donors, recipients, or donor-conceived people, and addressing issues of genetic connection and identity.

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Get in touch

For more information or to book an appointment with one of our fertility doctors, please call (03) 8080 8933 or email [email protected]. Fertility appointments can also be booked via our online booking page.

Our three Melbourne clinics are based in Box Hill, Clayton and East Melbourne and are open Monday–Friday: 8:00am–5:00pm. We welcome patients from all over Victoria, as well as those seeking care interstate or internationally. All fertility treatment requiring day surgery or lab access (e.g. egg collection, embryo transfer) will take place at our state-of-the-art treatment centre in Box Hill. Fertility consultations and IVF cycle monitoring can be arranged at all three Melbourne clinics.

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