Today, with increasing frequency, couples seek to build their families by creating embryos using their egg and sperm or using genetic material from one intended parent and donated egg or sperm, usually by an anonymous donor. Once the embryos are formed, they are transferred to a carrier, either the intended mother or a surrogate in the hope of creating a pregnancy and eventually a child.
The embryos are often frozen so that the intended parents could make use of them to add another child to the family. Not infrequently the intended parents may freeze more embryos than they use. The question then becomes what do the intended parents do with the frozen embryos. They can be destroyed. They can be donated to medical science. They can be donated to other infertile couples to assist them in building their families.
The term embryo adoption is not a favored term in the family building field. The preferred term is embryo donation. The intended parents build their family using genetic material from others. Depending on how the child is created, the legal status of the child may be determined by act of birth alone or by legal action such as adoption following the birth. No compensation is provided for the embryo donors; however, there are costs for embryo storage, as well as the medical and legal procedures. It is not an inexpensive way to build a family, but does represent an alternative being used more frequently today than ever before.