Embryo Matching – Private, Agency, or Clinic?

There are 3 methods through which you can pursue Embryo Matching.  It is important to know the benefits and drawbacks to each of these so that you can choose the right method for your individual situation. Every embryo adoption agency and fertility clinic handles embryo matching in a unique way. Some organizations require steps that elongate the process but are intended for your benefit. Private methods of embryo matching will allow you to control the length of the process but puts more responsibility on your shoulders. Some families choose to match themselves with an embryo donor by posting a profile online or networking through personal relationships.

Fertility Clinics


• Legal Work. Fertility Clinics will require that you have the proper legal work completed, and in most cases will procure the documents for you or refer you to their preferred adoption attorney.
• Transportation. Fertility Clinics house their own embryos, so there is no need for transportation. Transporting embryos carries the risk that something might happen to them during shipment.
• Decreased Wait Time. If you are willing to adopt anonymously donated embryos, the wait time for a clinic program can be dramatically decreased.
• Open Selection. Instead of viewing one profile at a time, you can often times view multiple profiles and select the one most compatible with your family.

• Limited Information. Depending upon the program, you may receive little to no information regarding the embryo donating family, especially in the case of anonymous embryo donations.
• Limited Control. Embryos are donated directly to the clinic, and the clinic determines who receives them.
• Limited Sibling Contact. The embryos may be given to multiple families (e.g.: The genetic family donates 10 embryos, 4 are given to family A, 3 are given to family B and three are given to family C).
• Limited Relationship. There will likely be very little communication between you and the embryo donor family. Few historical records of the donation are maintained by the clinic.

Private Embryo Matching

• Decreased Cost. You can achieve the same end goal (Embryo Adoption / Donation) without incurring an agency or program fee.
• Open Selection. Instead of viewing one profile at a time, you can view multiple profiles and select the one most compatible with your family.
• Increased Flexibility. Many benefits to an adoption agency and fertility clinic programs become optional in private embryo matching. When embryo matching privately you can still request/complete a home study, background checks, and an intermediary to moderate communication; although these are not mandatory.
• Increased Control. Instead of allowing the process to be regulated by an adoption agency or fertility clinic, you can take control over the pace, communication, and decisions.

• Increased Responsibility. Once private embryo matching has been secured, the responsibility is upon you and the embryo donor family to arrange for the legal, medical, and logistical necessities of the donation.
• Decreased Security. Even though it is not required with private embryo matching, it is highly recommended that you receive professional legal counsel and medical guidance before committing to an embryo match.
• Decreased Support. You may not have a third-party caseworker to guide you through the process and will need to depend upon professional legal counsel, medical guidance, support groups, or customer service departments to answer questions that may arise.

Embryo Adoption Agency

• Homestudy. This screening provides the embryo donor family peace of mind that their embryos are going to a adoptive family that has completed background checks and an extensive interview with a licensed caseworker.
• Embryo Matching. Families provide information regarding their current family structure, economic status, and social and medical history. The adoption agency then works to match them with a family who best meets their criteria.
• Relationship Management. The families agree upon a mutual level of future communication. The communication may be facilitated by the agency if desired. Historic records of the embryo donation are maintained by the agency.
• Legal Work & Transportation. The adoption agency procure legal documents for the transfer of property (the embryos) from the donating family to the recipient family. The agency will coordinate with the fertility clinics involved regarding medical testing required by the FDA and shipment of the embryos.

• Increased Cost. Agency fees can be high (between $8K and $14K), and sometimes do not include legal fees or the actual medical procedures.
• Increased Wait Time. Extra time must be factored in for the required approval steps, paperwork approvals, and home-study creation.
• Closed Selection Process. Profiles of potential families/embryos are typically presented one at a time. Most of the embryo matching decisions are strongly influenced by the case worker.
• Limited Control. The process is driven and paced at the discretion of the adoption agency.

For more information on managing the embryo matching, embryo adoption, or embryo donation processes, click here.