This past Friday, Dr. Howard Jones, the man considered to be the father of in vitro fertilization in the U.S., passed away. He was 104 at the time of his death, and lived long enough to see his pioneering work help thousands of desperate couples conceive children. Yet, it’s unlikely that even Dr. Jones could have anticipated the new form of adoption that has sprung up around in vitro labs across the country.
The reason is fairly simple: in vitro fertilization (IVF) generally creates more embryos than one couple need. The remaining embryos are put into cold storage. Families are charged an annual fee to keep them viable. Many families find discarding the unused embryos difficult, so instead choose to put them up for “adoption.” Once adopted, the viable embryos are thawed and then transferred to the adopting mother’s uterus.
Currently, the U.S. is the only country in the world that doesn’t put limits on the time an embryo can remain in storage. Adoption helps families who have a surplus of embryos and are unsure what path to take with them. As reported by the Star Advertiser, a national program called Snowflakes Embryo Adoption has been helping couples place their remaining embryos with new families since 1997. As a result, embryo adoption has slowly gained traction. In 2012, such placements were up by nearly 18 percent from the year before. Of course, this method of adoption is not without its difficulties. The adoption of excess embryos has given rise to a number of notable legal battles between couples, including the well-documented media tug-of-war between actors Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb.
If you are considering adopting an embryo, or have a surplus of embryos you would like to put up for adoption, you should consider speaking with a dedicated family attorney first to ensure everything is in order. Contact the Northern California Law Office of Rick D. Banks for more information.