Options for Cryopreserved Embryos




If you have completed your family building, and have remaining embryos cryopreserved (frozen) from your IVF cycle there are choices which will need to be discussed. We understand that decisions regarding the destiny of cryopreserved embryos can be very difficult. CNY Fertility Center has worked to provide as many options as possible, with the hope that one is right for you.

Listed below are the options which are currently available:

1. Maintain the cryopreserved embryos in storage for your future use– Annual storage fees will be billed to you. You are responsible for keeping the account current, and informing CNY Fertility Center of any changes in address.

2. Discard the embryos – Embryos are removed from their liquid nitrogen storage unit and brought to room temperature. During the cryopreservation procedure the embryos were dehydrated, and the water in the cell was replaced with cryoprotectant. The cells of the embryo will degenerate if they are not re-hydrated, thus bringing the embryos to room temperature and not re-hydrating them with solutions will cause them to degenerate and the cells to no longer divide and grow. This is the process that we use to discard embryos.

3. Take home your embryos – You may also pick up your embryos from the CNY Fertility Center Office and take them home with you to discard them yourself.

4. Donate embryos to science

  • Donation to CNY Fertility Center’s Training Program – CNY Fertility Center is continuously working to improve embryo technique. New technology in the field of IVF requires embryologists be trained. Donating your embryos to CNY Fertility Center’s training program allows embryologists to train on these donated embryos while learning new techniques which will help infertility couples in the future. An example of a new technology is Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) where one blastomere is biopsied from a Day 3 embryo. This is a very precise technique which requires training. Donating your embryos to the training program will allow embryologists to receive the “real life” training that only working with human embryos can provide. All embryos will be treated ethically and NOT used to create a pregnancy or child. Embryos will be discarded after they are used for training.
  • StanfordLogoEmbryo donation for stem cell research to Stanford University: The first human embryonic stem cells were derived in 1998 using materials donated by IVF patients. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can give rise to all of the adult tissues. In contrast, stem cells found in the adult are considered only multipotent, in that they can only become a limited number of mature cells. For example, bone marrow stem cells can give rise to all of the components of the blood, but cannot make nerves for a spinal chord. More recently, induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with extensive similarities to embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have been derived via genetic reprogramming of ordinary fetal and adult skin cells in both mice and humans. These breakthroughs herald an unprecedented time in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.
  • Using Discarded IVF Materials for Research
    The human egg is unique relative to all other cells of the adult body; it alone possesses the power to ‘reprogram’ other cells. Through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) we have the potential to understand early human development and events in preimplantation development. In addition, we may be able to create unique cell and tissue sources for studies of disease pathogenesis and regenerative medicine. Further exploration of each stage of early embryo development will enable us to improve laboratory methods and develop new techniques to increase IVF pregnancy rates.
  • Goals of Human Development and Stem Cell Research at Stanford
  • Address fundamental questions regarding human development, genetics and disease etiology
  • Create genetic tests and other useful clinical applications through the exploration of normal vs. abnormal development
  • Improve the quality of life through novel cell-based therapies
  • Optimize the use of precious resources for an increased knowledge of basic science and the future treatment of human diseases
  • If you have questions and would like more information feel free to contact Breanne Coate at CNY Fertility Center by emailing her at bcoate@cnyfertility.com.

5. Donate the embryos to another couple – Embryos can be donated to another couple dealing with infertility, where the donated embryos are transferred into the recipient’s uterus in an attempt to create a pregnancy.

  • Donation to a couple through another agency – Agencies such as National Embryo Donation Center as well as Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program offer this arrangement and additional details can be found at their websites. Should you choose this option, you will work directly with the agency to arrange for the transfer of your embryos from CNY Fertility Center to the destination arranged by the agency.


Links and Resources about embryo donation

Donation to Another couple:

Resolve – embryo donation online guide for DONORS – published by Resolve



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