Embryo adoption

To adopt an embryo means to try to fall pregnant with embryos whose biological parents have not chosen their destination.

Regarding the destination of frozen embryos the Spanish law for assisted human reproduction allows the following options:

  1. Implantation in the woman.
  2. Donation to other patients.
  3. Destroy them.
  4. Donate them to scientific research.

Despite offering all these options lots of couples wouldn’t decide for any of these. The document with which they confirm the destination of their surplus embryos puts them in a difficult situation which might lead to emotional conflicts. They appreciate the sibling embryos of their already born children so much that they are finally unable to sign in for any of these options. They do not respond in writing or inform us directly about their undecided state of mind and ask us to choose in their name the best option. Therefore, every year we have hundreds of frozen embryos whose destination the responsibles of the Reproduction Centres have to determine.

The embryo adoption programme of the Institut Marquès

In 2004 Institut Marques decided to offer all embryos coming from healthy couples that remained at our disposal to the Embryo Adoption Programme. An international pioneer project with this kind of technique which is currently the biggest world wide. The patients who decide to adopt an embryo only need travel for the embryo transfer to Barcelona (Spain).

The embryos come from healthy couples who are younger than 35 years and received successfully in vitro treatment and decided to have no more children. These embryos often come from egg cell and/or sperm donation.

Our desire is to give these embryos the possibility to live and to help them to find a mother.

For the Embryo- Adoption you will need to travel to Barcelona just for the embryo transfer, because we can assign Embryos in our facilities in London.

Doctora Lopez Teijon

Physician of the Year in Assisted Reproduction 2019

Dr. Marisa López-Teijón’s opinion

“To adopt means to take care of a human being whose biological parents were unable to. Transfers of adopted embryos are very special. The wish of conceiving a child and the idea of leaving behind the treatments -or not having contemplated them for moral reasons- comes together. They are the nicest transfers as there is happiness in the air. From each child born, we could write a book about love, dedication and gratitude to life”. Read more.

They adopt embryos

  • Women come of age of good physical and reproductive health.
  • Couples or women on waiting lists for child adoption. They often have already dismissed reproduction treatment or not even contemplated for religious or ethnical believes.
  • Women without male partner who wish for a child.
  • Couples with long term infertility problems and repeated failures with in vitro fertilisation.
  • Patients with repeated miscarriages.

Due to the restrictive laws in other states, patients come from different countries.

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Treatment to adopt embryos

It’s easy and painless.

The preparation of the uterus to receive the embryos consists of patches which are applied on the skin and vaginal suppositories. In a few days the uterus is prepared and the embryos can be thawed and transferred. No committal to the hospital is needed, merely physical efforts should be avoided.

After two weeks a pregnancy test needs to be done.

If you get pregnant, this pregnancy is considered a normal one. It is necessary to continue with the hormonal replacement therapy until you are 70 days pregnant.

The pregnancy check-ups are performed by your local gynaecologist.

Process of embryo adoption

During the initial consultation the woman’s health is checked and a gynaecological examination is performed. Please bring any previous revelant medical report with you.

A scan will be performed and a painless catheter test is done. This is to choose the best catheter for transfer.

You will receive indications on how to proceed with the treatment and a date for the thawing and transfer of the embryos will be agreed.

Success rate

The success rate for each embryo adoption cycle in our centre was 57%.

Please see as well link “Embryo Donation“.

System of embryo assignment

To avoid the risk of future coincidence among the siblings, the especially designed assignment system assures that the embryos are distributed over different states or countries.

The last 500 cycles correspond to women coming from 24 different countries: Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Holland, Ireland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Sweden, Austria, Finland, Mexico, USA, Australia, Algeria, Argentina, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Albania and Morocco.

For the Embryo- Adoption you will need to travel to Barcelona just for the embryo transfer, because we can assign Embryos in our facilities in London.

Waiting list

There is no waiting list, as soon as all previous tests have been made and the preparatory treatment has started transfer takes place approximately two to four weeks later.

It is not necessary to run through an official adoption process, you just sign the consent form for this Assisted Reproduction Technique.

Differences between embryo adoption and donation

The difference lies within the legal situation. For the “Donation Programme” the embryos come from couples who explicitly and in writing give their embryos away to other couples. In the “Adoption Programme” the destination of the embryos has not been chosen and therefore they are legally under the protection of the centre.