What kind of embryo donor-recipient relationship is right for me?

Some of the biggest questions both donors and recipients ponder as they’re going down the path of embryo adoption is “What are my options?” “What relationship do I want to have with the other family?” and “How will I feel about knowing a family that is raising the sibling of my child?”  There are good reasons for any choice. 

What are my options?

While many fertility clinics only offer anonymous donation, and traditional adoption agencies only open adoption, in embryo adoption, any variation is actually viable. It is only important that the donating and receiving families have the same perspective about their prospective relationship. 


An open relationship can range from being able to reach out to ask questions, to share updates if desired, to regular in person get-togethers.  An open relationship does not necessarily demand a commitment for communication. 

Recipients and donors who have open relationships often feel a strong sense of connection, and happy to offer their children relationships with their genetic siblings, when it feels right.   

Feelings may also change throughout the journey and lifetime, and that’s okay!  When agreeing to an open relationship, we work with you and the partner family to establish the agreement you feel very comfortable with.  And once you have your children, you can expand that relationship organically if you choose! 

Note: Even in an open relationship, there is no risk that the genetic donor could “change their mind” post-birth.  The legal documents establish full transfer of ownership, and the “parent” is the recipient.


Families can choose to remain anonymous to each other, but allow communication through a 3rd party. This relationship allows recipient families to ask questions about medical or other issues that arise that might have genetic components, for example.


Donor-identification allows for the child conceived via donor embryo to obtain contact information for the donors when they reach 18 years old. The families remain anonymous, with no contact, until that time that the 18+ yr old offspring requests. This option keeps the door open to allow offspring to choose to reach out if they want to learn more about their heritage as adults.


An anonymous relationship means that families do not share identifying information.  The agency manages the physical and legal transfer of the embryos, so that there is no connection to the donor family. 

Recipients and donors who have anonymous relationships feel at ease that their families remain insular. 

Photo by Emily Elizabeth

Photo by Emily Elizabeth