Embryos Alive is the second embryo adoption agency founded in the United States in 2003. It exists to provide hope both for prospective parents and for frozen embryos stored in cryobanks across the country. Embryos Alive matches donors with approved applicants who, in the best cases, fulfill their dream of carrying a pregnancy to term and then raising and nurturing a child.
We invite you to learn more about Embryos Alive through the Press Kit and website. If you have additional questions, please call Bonnie Bernard at (513)518-7006.
Thank you for your interest in helping families grow.
Bonnie J. Bernard
Bonnie J. Bernard, M.ED., P.C., N.C.C.
Executive Director and Founder
Bonnie J. Bernard, M.Ed., P.C., N.C.C
Bonnie began her work with children after earning a BS in Elementary Education. In 1992, she shifted her focus and obtained her M.Ed. in Agency and Community Counseling in 1998. She earned her Professional Counselor license and National Certified Counselor license and is currently working toward a doctorate. Bonnie worked for six years with the Behavioral Consultant for Hamilton County’s 241-KIDS and disrupting adoptions before she founded an international adoption agency Care To Adopt and Ohio Home Study in 2002 where she was a Certified Adoption Assessor licensed to do home studies in the states of Ohio and Indiana. She is a tier I and II trained adoption assessor for the state of Ohio, a member of The Ohio Child and Youth Care Professionals Association, a member of the Chi Sigma Iota Counseling Association, the American Counseling Association, and the National Board of Certified Counselors. She is an active member of Montgomery Community church where she is on the leadership committee for the orphans care ministry and serves as an advisor for Phi Mu fraternity Beta Eta chapter of which she was a charter member on the Oxford campus of Miami University in 1975.
She and her husband Gary experienced five years of infertility before they adopted their wonderful son Peter from Bulgaria in 2001. Peter was the inspiration to start Care To Adopt, a licensed private non custodial adoption agency in Ohio. Her intimate understanding of infertility issues drew Bonnie to the world of embryo adoption. She founded Embryos Alive to match embryo donors with prospective parents and rejoices in each match that is made.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is embryo adoption?
A: Embryo adoption is the process of adopting frozen embryos from their donor parents (or genetic donors) and implanting them in the adoptive mother’s uterus via in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Q: How successful is embryo adoption?
A: Donated embryos face several hurdles before a successful birth. First, the embryos must survive the thawing process and then the transfer. Statistics report there is a 40% chance of thaw and 50% chance they will attach. )Although advances in the freezing techniques such as the "vitrification process" since 2007 are realizing between 70 and 90% chance of thaw rates.) At that point, they are subject to the same challenges of any typical pregnancy.
Q: How many embryo adoptions in the U.S. have successfully produced children?
A: This number is difficult to confirm, due to the requested anonymity and confidentiality many families seek. However, among industry professionals we know of 83 babies born to date and another 15 adopting families are currently expecting babies. Embryos Alive reports 32 live births or on the way as of December 2009.
Q: What is the current supply of frozen embryos?
A: At present, there are about 400,000 frozen embryos stored in fertility clinics around the country. However, only half of those embryos (categorized as grade one or two embryos) are expected to survive upon thawing. Unfortunately, many embryo donors do not know of the option of adoption. According to the ASRM only 2% of those will be donated to another couple. Like traditional adoptions, there are often more couples hoping to adopt than are available embryos for adoption. Once again, demand is greater than the supply.
Q: What will happen to those embryos that are not adopted?
A: Embryo donors are given the choice of destroying the embryos or releasing them for medical research. Embryos may be frozen indefinitely. Embryos Alive has one live birth and one pregnancy that were a result of embryos stored in 1999.
Q: What is the cost of embryo adoption?
A: Surprisingly, the cost of embryo adoption is much less than the cost of traditional after-birth adoptions. Most embryo adoptions cost between $4,000 and $10,000, which includes the transfer of the embryos to the adoptive mother’s uterus. The remainder of the fee is used to reimburse the genetic couple for their lab and storage expenses. Most traditional adoptions—as well as most IVF procedures—easily cost between $20,000 and $30,000.
Q: What are the legal ramifications of embryo adoptions?
A: Embryo adoptions are strictly legal, as there are currently no laws governing the process. A legal and binding agreement is written between all parties involved, and once the embryos are transferred, the genetic couple cannot change their minds.
Q: What do the donors and adoptive parents know about one another?
A: Much like traditional post-birth adoptions, embryo adoptions can be open, closed or agency-liaison. While many genetic couples or donor parents wish to remain anonymous, the adoptive couple does receive their medical information. And in most of the cases, the donors select the adoptive parent/s based on personal information that is provided in the couple’s profile, which includes background checks and/or a homestudy maintained at the Embryos Alive office. There are also many cases where the couples exchange names and e-mails, meet before the transfer, and continue an open relationship once the child is born.
Q: Why would a couple choose to donate their embryos?
A: Because IVF is a painful and expensive procedure, doctors choose to harvest and fertilize numerous eggs for multiple attempts at a pregnancy. Often, several embryos are frozen for future use. Of course, couples never intend to parent that many children, so they are left with the agonizing decision of what to do with the remaining embryos. Their choices are to destroy them, donate them to medical research or offer them to another couple for adoption. Those parents who choose to offer their embryos for adoption believe that it is best to give life a chance.
Q: How many embryos are transferred at one time?
A: Typically, doctors will transfer two to three embryos at a time, depending on the age of the donor at the time of storage, and provide the couple with two to three opportunities for implantation.
Q: Is there an increased risk of birth abnormalities?
A: The risk of birth abnormalities is no greater in embryo adoption than in a couple’s own genetic pregnancy.
High Costs, Red-Tape Lead to Innovative Options
“December is going to be a month of excitement around here as two of our clients are undergoing a transfer cycle this month. Everyone involved is praying for a couple of Christmas miracles.”
Bernard’s desire to help has led to the establishment of two separate agencies, Embryos Alive and Care to Adopt. Both agencies involve adoption, with Embryos Alive providing a cutting edge of technology approach and Care To Adopt focusing on keeping the costs of a traditional or international adoption down for families on the journey to adoption.
For more information about Embryo’s Alive or to arrange an interview please contact Bonne Bernard at 1-(513) 518-7006 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can also be accessed at the organizations’ websites www.embryosalive.com.
Embryos Alive Prepares for New Life
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, Sept. 2005—Embryos Alive, one of only two embryo adoption agencies in the United States, is anxiously waiting to hear the high-pitched cry of a newborn, a miracle child expected to arrive by the month’s end. After considering domestic and foreign adoption, they discovered the exciting world of embryo adoption and were thrilled to learn they could fulfill their own desire to experience pregnancy and birth while also giving life to a stored embryo that might otherwise be destroyed.
Gary and Ronda*, who met on a Christian mission trip to Russia and married six years ago, have long desired children. Gary , a pastor, and Ronda , a training director for a weight loss center, express their compassion and concern for others on a daily basis. They are grateful to be the recipients of another couple’s kindness and generosity and are eager to share their love of life, laughter, and God with their little one. As the middle child of three and five, respectively, Gary and Ronda know the blessings of family and offer their heartfelt thanks to the donor couple.
Joining dramatic medical advances with carefully defined legal and ethical foundations has allowed Embryos Alive’s Director, Bonnie Bernard, to match pre-screened adoptive parents with couples who have undergone successful in vitro fertilization procedures and now wish to donate their excess embryos. With a reference check, background check, and full profile—one that includes information such as height, weight, marital status, hair and eye color, age, ethnic background, religion, career, education, hobbies and interests, number of children, number of years trying to conceive, and photos—genetic parents feel secure in their choices.
Mirrored after a traditional state licensed adoption agency, Embryos Alive offers open, agency liaison and closed/anonymous adoptions. In addition, Embryos Alive facilitates connections between genetic parents, adoptive parents, and approved clinics/cryobanks to complete the embryo transfer. Finally, Embryos Alive is qualified to handle issues unique to embryo adoption, such as questions on informing the donors of a successful pregnancy or deciding if genetic children will have contact.
Gary and Ronda are the second couple to become pregnant through the Embryos Alive embryo adoption agency, and additional births are under way. To learn more about embryo adoption or to send your congratulations to the parents-to-be, visit www.EmbryosAlive.com, e-mail email@example.com, or call (513)-518-7006.