Fertility treatment is a long uphill road. The path leading to acceptance of donated embryos is even more mountainous than the one you currently travel. Most couples facing embryo donation as a therapeutic option are not newcomers to fertility treatment. Receiving bad news from their physician may have been the rule rather than the exception during the course of their journey. Even so, when the physician explains to a couple that embryo donation may be one of their best treatment options, most couples experience a myriad of emotions. Some couples feel shock or disbelief, some express anger and others may feel desperate or hopeless.
Some couples have difficulty adjusting to the idea that they will never have their own genetic child. Many couples experience feelings of ambivalence, confusion, fear, grief or inadequacy regarding their role in the pregnancy and parenting process. Understanding and acceptance of these feelings as “normal” is essential. We highly recommend the services of a counselor specially trained in working with family issues to help the couple work through these feelings. The ART nurse will be happy to help arrange an appointment with one of the counselors.
After a couple has taken time to discuss their feelings with each other, we encourage the couple to schedule a return appointment with their physician. It is helpful for the couple to organize their thoughts and write down their questions in preparation for their office visit.
At the ART Fertility Program, the recipient couple usually has a “waiting time”, during which preliminary tests are performed and suitable embryos are made available. Embryos may become available from couples who have completed an in vitro fertilization cycle and have cryopreserved excess embryos. Some couples may desire to no longer store embryos, may have experienced incapacitation, death, divorce or the embryos may have been abandoned. This waiting period begins after the mock cycle has been completed and found to be normal. An SIS (sonar insufflation study), HSG (hysterosalpingogram) and /or hysteroscopy will be required within six months of the embryo donation cycle. The waiting period is based on availability of embryos and often will be longer than a year. Most couples utilize the “waiting time” as a chance to renew their commitment to each other as a couple. Many couples express that reaching the decision to move to embryo donation gives them a sense of relief. They welcome the waiting time as a chance to adjust and refocus their lives to one without monthly fertility treatments. They wait for embryo donation with a new sense of hope.
After being placed on the waiting list, some couples and their ART physician agree that the couple may continue fertility treatment utilizing ovulation induction, timed natural cycles or intrauterine inseminations. Even though the chance of pregnancy may be low, some couples find that this process helps them complete their emotional adjustment to embryo donation.
POTENTIAL FOR PREGNANCY
Your ART physician will discuss with you the potential pregnancy rate based on the quality of the embryos stored, as well as other contributing factors.
Once a couple makes the decision to use an embryo donor to help achieve pregnancy, couples are usually anxious to begin. Preparation of the recipient woman’s uterus is one of the keys to success in the egg donation process. The recipient woman’s ovaries are not required for pregnancy provided the necessary hormones are supplied to the uterus. Tests are required to assure that both parties are healthy and do not have communicable disease, which could be passed to a fetus. The ART nurse coordinator will help you arrange these tests.
Insurance coverage rarely includes costs associated with the use of an embryo donor. The recipient couple’s insurance carrier may cover some of the costs incurred during the recipient’s evaluation prior to the embryo donation cycle. The recipient couple should contact their insurance carrier prior to beginning the embryo donation process. Financial counselors at the ART Fertility Program will be available to discuss each couple’s coverage and to advise them of the estimated costs associated with the embryo donation process. A separate financial information sheet will be available upon request. The recipient couple will be responsible for all fees and costs incurred in the procedure contemplated herein, including, but not limited to, the cost of medications, hormonal monitoring, thawing and transferring the embryo(s), and the cost for screening embryo donors.
All of the information and data resulting from this procedure will remain confidential. This information will not be disclosed or released to any person or entity except to authorized employees and/or agents of the Center, employees of the State Department of Health or as permitted or required by law.