How to Respond to Questions about Your Embryo Adoption

Embryo adoption is a unique option that can help families experience the joys (and challenges!) of pregnancy and childbirth with their adopted child. You may be on board, but it is usually a new and difficult concept for many people. You may run into some interesting reactions and questions when you start to share your journey.

Q: “That sounds weird… like something right out of a sci-fi movie.”

If you get this comment, change the connotation from weird to amazing!

A: “It is a miracle, isn’t it?! It happens when science is combined with the miracle of life! But it’s not new—cryo-technology has been around since the 1950’s. It is also used in the medical field to freeze sperm, egg, and other human tissues.”

Q: “Isn’t it hard on the kid because they’re born in the wrong decade?”

This is usually a question you will get if the person is trying to wrap their minds around the concept of freezing the embryo. Since embryos have no known “shelf-life,” they can be frozen for many years, thawed, and then transferred. There have been many healthy children who have been born from embryos ten years old or even older.

A: “A child born from an embryo has their birthday like any other kid, and that is their age. Embryos are frozen in time—and liquid nitrogen—somewhere in the first five days of development, and they stay at that stage until they are thawed and transferred.”

Q: “Isn’t it robbing orphaned kids overseas or in foster care?”

This is a tricky question to answer, because while it can come across as belittling or even judgmental, it’s usually based off of a person’s genuine care for orphans. Embryo adoption is just one of many adoption choices. Embryo adoption doesn’t replace other adoption programs, it expands the choices people have for helping children who need a family

A: “This is was right adoption path for us. It’s just like how a family may choose domestic adoption over international adoption. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. We’re still adopting a child—just much earlier in their development.”

Q: “How does the Church feel about embryo adoption?”

Several protestant denominations have affirmed that because they believe life begins at conception, embryo adoption is a great solution for giving remaining frozen embryos the life for which they were created. The Catholic Church has not specifically condoned nor condemned embryo adoption. They do believe life beings at conception, and have condemned IVF. However, if Catholics frame embryo adoption as rescuing an unborn child, it’s difficult to refute.

A: “No. There is no official stance from the church against embryo adoption.”

Q: “That sounds so cool! How much would it be for me to buy one?”

This question comes up simply because of a lack of understanding and differentiation. While you may be able to purchase sperm or eggs for family building, embryos have a special status by the law and cannot be bought and sold. Buying and selling live, human tissue within the United States is illegal. Human embryos fall under this category. Any fees paid for an embryo adoption are for services provided, like legal contracts, clinic coordination, embryo shipment, matching, FDA requirement, etc. The donor family receives no compensation for their embryos.

A: “It is actually illegal to buy and sell embryos in the U.S. The resources required for this adoption are helping with the agency’s time, human resource needs, and the services they provide us. Ultimately, our embryos are a gift from the donor family.”

As you pursue your embryo adoption journey, we hope this better prepares you to answer well-meant questions with confidence. To learn more about speaking about your embryo adoption to the unfamiliar, watch our webinar here. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.