EMBRYO DONATION / ADOPTION
Embryo donation and adoption provide exciting new options for those wanting to be parents but who are not themselves able to produce their own embryos. Parents who have used their own embryos to have children now find themselves with embryos they will not use for their own pregnancy, but wish to donate to others who want to be parents.
The law dealing with embryo donation and adoption is definitely in the developing stage. Currently, there are no States which have statutory laws clearly addressing the handling of embryo donation and adoption. Until State Legislatures or the Federal Congress develop statutory law providing clear procedures and requirements, parties participating in embryo donation and adoption must be careful and vigilant in make the donation/adoption as legally and ethically sound as possible.
Choosing the Receiving Parents-in-waiting
Parents with excess embryos may personally select the parents-in-waiting who are to receive the embryos. Donor parents may also choose to donate the embryos to an agency which specializes in embryo adoption and allow the agency to select the receiving parents-in-waiting. Donor parents may also work with the agencies and participate in the selection of the receiving parents-in-waiting.
Effecting the Legal Transfer to the Receiving Parents-in-waiting
Regardless of the manner in which the receiving parents-in-waiting are chosen, the donation of the embryos to the receiving parents-in-waiting should be legally and ethically sound. The effect of the donation should be to fully transfer all rights in and to the embryos from the donor parents to the receiving parents-in-waiting. All rights of the donor parents in and to the embryos should be extinguished and the receiving parents-in-waiting should be legally designated as the parents of any child or children born from the embryos.
Embryos are to be Donated
The transfer of the embryos is to be a true donation, and there can be no payment to the donor parents or the agency as consideration for the donation. It is appropriate however, for certain expenses to be paid by the receiving parents-in-waiting, such as the costs for transporting and proper care and storage of the embryos, legal expenses to effect the legal transfer of the embryos, and costs to secure medical records.
Medical and Social History
The receiving parents-in-waiting should secure from the donor parents an appropriate medical history which will disclose genetically important information to become a part of the medical record for any child which develops from the embryos. An appropriate social history on the donor parents may also be desirable.
Pre-Placement Investigation on Receiving Parents-in-Waiting
To bring an added level of integrity to the donation/adoption process, the receiving parents-in-waiting should secure a pre-placement adoption investigation, as they would in any traditional adoption. The pre-placement investigation will provide important information to the donor parents or agency considering the receiving parents-in-waiting. Such investigation should also be helpful to a court considering the legal recognition of the embryo donation/adoption.