Cincinnati, OH – Adopting frozen embryos may be a relatively
new method of making families, but the technology behind it isn’t.
In vitro fertilization (or IVF), the reproductive technique used
to create an embryo in a lab environment, has actually been around
since 1978. The process involves fertilizing the egg and sperm
in a Petri dish supplied with nutrients.
Of course, the actual process of in vitro is slightly more complex,
beginning with the practice of injecting the woman with hormones
in an effort to produce multiple egg follicles. In a typical in
vitro cycle, a woman is implanted with two to six embryos in her
uterus. However, there are usually many more fertilized eggs remaining
after the first transfer. These embryos are then stored in suspended
animation through cryopreservation – or frozen for the future
use of the couple who created them.
As a result of
this technology, there are currently more than 400,000 frozen embryos
waiting in laboratories around the world – their
Many embryos go unused once genetic parents successfully become
pregnant and give birth. If the couple who created them did not
use them, they could be destroyed – either intentionally
or for scientific research. So the idea of making the embryos available
for adoption was born.
One of the earliest embryo adoption campaigns was reborn during congressional testimony by parents
who adopted frozen embryos, urging Congress to ban embryonic stem
cell research, which would destroy children similar to the ones
they held in their arms.
Today, President George W. Bush is encouraging this with a $1
million grant to help publicize frozen embryo adoption.
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