The National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) understands your desire to have a family and seeks to provide you an alternative method to have children. When couples go through fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization, there are usually an excess of fertilized eggs (embryos) that are frozen and stored for later use. When the genetic parents decide that their family is complete and embryos are still available, they are faced with a dilemma. There are three options: donating them to a couple who is unable to conceive, destroying them for research purposes, or thawing them and letting them die. Embryo adoption allows the genetic parents to give their embryos a chance for life and provides you with an opportunity to have children. Embryo adoption allows you to experience pregnancy and the birth of a child.
A team you can trust...
The National Embryo Donation Center is a nonprofit center assisting both embryo donors and recipients. The Center handles the medical, legal, and social requirements of embryo donation and adoption. Offering a variety of placement options for couples, the NEDC works with an experienced adoption agency to ensure appropriate screening and to assist you with your decisions. Other important elements provided by the NEDC include education and counseling for both donors and recipients. The Center is endorsed by the Christian Medical Association.
Dr. Jeffrey Keenan, a highly respected specialist in infertility and reproductive medicine, leads the NEDC team. He is the Center's medical director and a fertility specialist at the Southeastern Fertility Center in Knoxville, TN. He is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. He is an associate professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and is the director of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Keenan graduated with honors from Jefferson Medical College, completed an internship at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, PA, residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, TN, and fellowship at Hutzel Hospital/Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. He is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Christian Medical & Dental Association. He has been in practice since 1990 and has performed innumerable fertility procedures with outstanding success rates.
Why choose embryo adoption?
Infertility makes a couple feel lonely, empty and incomplete. The joy of having a child is like no other experience in life, fulfilling the heart's deepest desire. (Back to top)
Who can adopt?
We work hard to assure that embryos are placed in good homes. The adopting mother must be healthy and able to carry a child to term. The adopting family must be a married couple that has successfully completed a comprehensive evaluation and education process, and meet the follow criteria:
- Couples must be married for a minimum of 3 years.
- Wife must be 45 years old or younger.
- The combined age of applicant couple must not exceed 100 years.
- The wife must not smoke during the application process, embryo transfer preparation and procedure process, or during pregnancy.
- Preference will be given to couples with no biological children.
- At least one partner of the adopting couple must be a legal citizen of the United States.
- Couples must undergo and pass a home study.
Our staff will help prepare you for the exciting journey ahead. Once more embryos are available for adoption, we hope to be able to offer these services to a wider variety of couples. (Back to top)
Will I need to travel?
Candidates will need two or more visits to the NEDC. There will be an initial screening visit and exam, and a second appointment for the actual embryo transfer. Monitoring prior to transfer is often arranged at a local clinic in your home area. If pregnancy does not occur after the first attempt, further visits may be required.
Coming to NEDC will ensure that you have a transfer for your cost. While at the NEDC clinic you may select a backup donor and proceed with your transfer. In this way you have not gone through all of the medical preparation and cost only to be disappointed with no embryos to transfer. (Back to top)
Why is screening necessary?
We do a comprehensive evaluation and test for certain diseases to ensure the best conditions for successful implantation and a healthy pregnancy. (Back to top)
Will the genetic parents be aware of our identity, or of the child if we are successful?
That depends. We offer both anonymous and "open" adoptions. Our counselors will help you select the options that are best for you. (Back to top)
Is this really adoption?
Based on current law, adoption only refers to the placement of a child after birth. Therefore, instead of using adoption laws, legal agreements are used to govern the process of embryo adoption. But be assured that your relationship with the child is just as binding as an adoption. In addition, with embryo adoption, you will be the parents cited on the birth certificate. (Back to top)
Can genetic parents change their minds and get the child?
Under current law, once the embryos have been transferred, the genetic parents have no legal claim to any resultant children. The contract agreement and relinquishment forms are legally binding between the two families. (Back to top)
Can embryo adoption lead to infections in the mother?
The genetic parents undergo health histories and disease screening prior to retrieving the sperm and eggs to create their embryos. In addition, an attempt is made to rescreen the genetic parents at the time of donation of their embryos. This makes embryo adoption as safe as technically possible. (Back to top)
Does this technique cause birth defects?
Birth defects are no more common with this technique than with standard in vitro fertilization, and are predicted to be no greater than in the general population. (Back to top)
What are my chances for a successful pregnancy?
According to the CDC, for embryo adoption the national average pregnancy rate is 43 percent and the national average live-birth rate is 35 percent. These statistics are from a database of all U.S. assisted reproductive technology clinics. The NEDC's overall pregnancy rate per transfer is 57% and its live-birth rate is 50%. Not all embryos survive the freeze/thaw process, and thawing of your selected embryos may not lead to a transfer. However, this may still offer the greatest hope of achieving pregnancy. (Back to top)
How many embryos will be transferred to my uterus?
Usually, two to four embryos are thawed for each transfer cycle. All embryos that survive the thawing process are transferred. (Back to top)
Is there a chance for multiple births?
Multiple births are much less common with frozen embryo transfers than with non-frozen ("fresh") embryo transfers. We limit the number of embryos transferred, but there is no guarantee that you will not have multiple births. Your options to control this will be discussed during counseling. (Back to top)
How many attempts can I have to become pregnant?
Currently, a maximum of three embryo transfers will be allowed for each patient accepted into the program. (Back to top)
What are the costs?
Costs vary depending upon the costs incurred in obtaining the embryos. However, the total expenses should average about one-third the cost of a standard in vitro fertilization cycle. For an estimate of the costs involved, please view the NEDC Fee Schedule (Acrobat PDF). You may also be eligible to take an itemized deduction for personal medical care expenses paid during the taxable year. Click here for sample information. (Back to top)
What is the first step?
The first step you should take is to fill out the application for recipients. This is done online and is a very simple process; however, the NEDC are here via phone at 1-866-585-8549 or email if you have questions regarding the application process. The compassionate staff of the National Embryo Donation Center are eager to work with you to achieve your dream of a family. The next step is yours! (Back to top)
Please visit our Common Questions page for further information on embryo donation and adoption.