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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Why You Need to Find Support Before, During and After Embryo Adoption

The importance of finding and connecting with a support network during your embryo adoption journey can’t be overstated. This is an exciting, scary, miraculous thing you’ll be going through, and having a support network of people who can relate to the bevy of emotions you are experiencing is invaluable. Connecting with a strong support network will:

  • Help you find answers to questions. Whether you have a question about your fertility cycle, want to know more about the embryo transfer, or just need opinions on sleep schedules, a support network of people who have been through an embryo adoption themselves can be a great resource for that information.
  • Give you a place to vent. Sure, embryo adoption is an exciting event, and you’re ecstatic about the prospect of becoming pregnant with your adopted baby. That doesn’t mean there won’t be some negative emotions involved, too. A support network can help you deal with those emotions, understand they are normal, and move past them.
  • Celebrate victories with you. Often couples going through embryo adoption find that while their friends and family are excited for them, they can’t relate to their embryo adoption journey. They don’t understand the excitement of a successful thawing process or going through a successful transfer like fellow embryo adopters will. A support network will understand how much these small victories mean to you. 

Whether you connect with people in person, over the phone, or through the internet, finding the right support network of people will make your embryo adoption experience even more special. If you’d like to learn more about how to find a support network for your embryo adoption journey, visit

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New FDA-Approved Test Could Improve Frozen Embryo Transfer Success

While the adoption and use of frozen embryos already boasts a healthy success rate (often higher than that of fresh embryos during IVF treatments), a new FDA-approved test could boost that rate even higher. The director of the Stanford University In Vitro Fertilization Laboratory, Barry Behr, created the Early Embryo Viability Assessment (EEVA) that will help doctors scan embryos created in a lab to help determine which ones are the most viable for transfer.

EEVA will help eliminate subjective opinions of doctors concerning which embryos appear to be the most viable. Without the test, viability was solely based on the opinion of whoever was looking through the microscope. Embryos were examined for rapid and even division, a likely indication of a healthy developing embryo. Instead, EEVA uses time-lapse cameras to watch the development of a fertilized human egg as it develops through the blastocyst stage. The camera takes one picture every 5 minutes for 48 hours, then the data collected is filtered through a special algorithm to give the embryo a grade. Embryos with a higher grade will, in theory, have a better chance of becoming a healthy baby.

The EEVA test has two goals: help eliminate the need to transfer multiple embryos during IVF or frozen embryo transfer and increase the chances of success at a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. Unfortunately, this test isn’t a guarantee for pregnancy or a healthy baby. It does, however, give some hope to couples struggling with infertility that their chances of having a baby are getting better and better. If you’d like to learn more about the success rates of embryo adoption, visit

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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Factors That Increase the Chance of Embryo Adoption Success

Recently, this blog discussed the success rates of thawing embryos and frozen embryo transfers. While the success rate of these procedures is encouraging and only likely to get better in the future, there are factors that impact the rate of success adoptive couples should know about now:

  1. The age of the donating mother when the eggs were harvested. Fertility begins to decline after age 35 due in part to the quality of remaining eggs a woman has in her body. If the embryos were created from eggs retrieved from a woman 35 years of age or older, the embryos will have a lower chance of successfully implanting and growing into a healthy baby. Many embryos donated were created using purchased human eggs retrieved from a young woman.
  2. The health of the donating mother when the eggs were harvested. Factors like weight, whether she is a smoker, and previous health concerns can all impact the health of the embryo.
  3. The health of the adoptive mother. Ideally, a woman should be in excellent health during the time of the embryo transfer. This allows her body to more easily undergo the changes it needs to experience a healthy pregnancy.
  4. When the embryos were frozen. Most clinics agree that freezing embryos on day 5 (when they are at the blastocyst stage) gives the best chance for success, because they can evaluate the health of the embryo better than they can at earlier stages. However, many babies have been born to families adopting through Snowflakes which were frozen as early as day 1! Remember, the donor family already has children born from this same set of embryos.
  5. The number of embryos available for thawing. Of course, more embryos equal more chances of success, but remember that it only takes one embryo to become the baby you’ve been dreaming about. 

While most of the factors on this list not within your control, you can focus on what you can control. Mom- and dad-to-be should focus on their health, getting enough exercise, eating right, and staying positive. Embryo adoption has a great rate a success and the embryos you are adopting were created by families who wanted the best chance of creating a family – just like you do. You can learn more about embryo adoption and how you can increase your chances of success on

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Counseling for Couples Pursuing Adoption is Important – Even When Adopting Embryos

Couples who are struggling with infertility know the devastating mental impact it can have on their lives, but many overlook the importance of counseling when it comes to embryo adoption. While the prospect of having a baby is a joyous one, it isn’t without its own difficulties. Many clinics and agencies require couples to undergo counseling sessions before their adoption, and it isn’t something that couples should neglect to do before the arrival of their baby.

Even if the clinic you are working with doesn’t require it, there are many reasons couples should consider going through counseling on their own. Along with the help of a counselor, you’ll be able to discuss important topics in a supportive, neutral environment.  A counselor can guide you through discussions about the impact the embryo adoption will have on your relationship – good and bad – and how you plan on dealing with the emotions, stress, and financial commitments that go along with an embryo adoption. You may also discuss whether and how to tell friends and family about your decision, and what level of openness you want to have with the donating family.

Being able to discuss these issues with your partner in a safe, caring environment with a professional infertility counselor will help you build an even stronger bond before you bring a baby into your family. Don’t be afraid to reach out to an infertility counselor at any point in your embryo adoption journey for additional support, guidance, or to start these important discussions with your partner. To find out more about embryo adoption and infertility counseling, visit

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What Are Your Chances of a Successful Embryo Adoption?

Many couples who explore embryo adoption as an alternative option for building their family have already been through plenty of heartaches when it comes to their fertility. Many have learned that they are infertile for one reason or the other, or they may have experienced miscarriages, or maybe experienced the pain of a failed traditional adoption. Whatever brings them to explore embryo adoption, they are understandably wary of another family building method that could break their hearts. The good news is that embryo adoption, while not guaranteed, offers a high rate of success.

When it comes to thawing frozen embryos which have been in cold storage, every clinic has its own rate of success. Most clinics experience a 50% to 75% success rate during the thawing process and see strong, healthy embryos that start dividing cells and are ready for implantation. For the frozen embryo transfer (FET), which is the process of transferring the thawed embryos to the mother’s womb, the success rate is actually slightly higher than the rate for in vitro fertilization with fresh embryos. This may be because the adoptive mother hasn’t undergone recent surgery for egg retrieval, and her body won’t be experiencing residual effects from the fertility medication required before IVF procedures.

The CDC reports that in 2011, there was a 35% success rate for FET resulting in a live birth. The Snowflakes program is currently reporting a 43% success rate!  Technology and science are always advancing and doctors better understand how to help more of these frozen embryos become the healthy, happy babies they were created to be. If you’d like to learn more about embryo adoption, the success rates, and what factors can increase your chances of success, sign up for a free webinar at

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