Let’s Talk About… National Adoption Awareness Month
November 22, 2019
BY: Francesca O'Cathain, Esq.
Embryo adoption in New Jersey
November is National Adoption Awareness Month! Adoption is one of my favorite topics as my son, Connor, and daughter, Ashling, were adopted from China.
However, this blog post is on a different kind of adoption: Embryo Adoption. It is the adoption of an embryo that was created during In Virto Fertilization (IVF). Embryo adoption allows women and/or couples who, for whatever reason, cannot conceive and allows them to match with a donor who has frozen embryos and wishes to donate them. The adoptive mother then hopefully becomes pregnant with the embryo.
IVF is another favorite topic of mine as my daughter, Keira, was born thanks to IVF. I have met families who have chosen embryo adoption to build their families and are eternally grateful that it was an option for them.
Some time ago I was reading People Magazine online (yes, yes— don’t judge!) and saw that the lead article was on a family who adopted an embryo. The article was titled “Meet a Woman Who Adopted Her Daughter— as an Embryo.” I was happy to see the article and I am always happy with alternative methods of family-building becoming mainstream. As the women in the article said, “Embryo adoption seemed like such an interesting and unexplored path to parenthood, and it seemed like an amazing and exciting think to be part of.”
Like many new areas, this avenue of family building is sure to raise new questions and ultimately a new body of case law on how to address some of these questions. There are some cases on the rights of frozen embryos when a couple gets divorced; however, I have not seen any cases involving embryo adoption yet. I imagine there will be cases related to divorcing parents who want to donate the embryos versus a parent who wants to donate it to science. Currently embryo adoptions are considered a transfer of property, rather than a traditional adoption, therefore resulting in straight-forward contracts that state that the genetic parents have no rights to any resulting children.
So National Adoption Awareness Month! I know I am thankful for adoption, IVF, and all means of family building.