BC’s CHOICES Adoption Agency and the Victoria Fertility Centre have teamed up to provide an embryo donation service.
What this means is that people who have gone through infertility treatment and have spare embryos they don’t intend to use, and don’t want destroyed, can donate an embryo to another person. The embryos are frozen, which can affect the success rates of such procedures.
The Victoria Fertility Centre Clinic wanted to offer this service and asked CHOICES to assist by providing education and counselling for the recipient parents, and doing a homestudy on them from which the donor families, or the adoption agency, can choose. Though this service is not legally required, Cheryl Fix, Executive Director of CHOICES, says that the clinic acknowledges that in this process there are similarities to adoption: parents who conceive a child in this way need information on openness; the right for a child to have a knowledge of his or her genetic origins; how to deal with the strong possibility of the child having siblings, and how to talk to a child about how he or she came into the world.
Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the commercialization of egg and sperm donation, including the payment of anonymous egg donors and the advertisement of such services. The families that work with Choices pay no fee for the embryo, but they will pay for the homestudy, counselling, and education services, as well as matching and facilitation. The family will also pay fees to the Victoria Fertility Centre for the procedure. Technically, a family who has registered with CHOICES for adoption could possibly also register for this program - the homestudy would be valid for both. However, if a family were selected for embryo donation, they would not be proposed a child available for adoption at the same time.
Interest in this service (which will begin once the BC government approves the fees that CHOICES will charge prospective parents) has already been strong. Fix explains that the agency is receiving a steady stream of calls from interested people.