Resulting from medically assisted reproduction procedures, supernumerary embryos will be destroyed, handed over for research or offered for adoption, depending on the decision made by their biological parents. In Spain, this latter option is offered to heterosexual couples, gay men, and even single women by the Institut Marquès, a clinic specialising in MAR.
Today, when parents cannot or do not want to decide on the fate of their “excess” IVF embryos, “after patients have failed to reply to two reminders, the decision is left in the hands of the medical centre and the embryos are made available”. The reproduction clinic chooses for biological parents, who remain unaware of what happens to their embryos.
A study has shown that:
- Only 2% of French patients who complete their in-vitro fertilization cycles at the Institut Marquès explicitly ask for their “excess” embryos to be donated.
- 63% do not state their wishes for what will happen to them.
- 28% of French “adopters” are single women.
The adoption of embryos, which the clinic assures will be first sorted and selected, i.e. will be free of psychological, physical and hereditary pathologies, remains a little used option: “These embryos are the fruit of other couples’ plans, so it is very difficult, from a psychological point of view, to become involved in a different story,” says Virginie Rio, co-founder of Collectif BAMP!, a patients association for medically assisted reproduction.
Thanks to this program launched in 2004, the Institut Marquès has just “surpassed the milestone of 1,000 babies born using this technique”.