Embryo donation is a relatively new medical option that many couples seeking fertility treatment or domestic adoption might not have learned about yet — but there is a local nonprofit that is trying to raise awareness about the process and provides support for those grappling with fertility challenges. This is an exciting new family building option for the 1 in 8 couples now being diagnosed with infertility!

To help raise awareness, but more importantly, support families at every step, the National Fertility Support Center (NFSC) was formed. The NFSC is a local nonprofit, and one of the first programs in the United States to provide support and counseling for both embryo donors and embryo recipients. According to the NFSC, nationally, more than 3,000 children have been born through embryo donation. And, the NFSC has helped celebrate the births of more than 800 babies born by way of embryo donation to those with whom they’ve worked!

Working in partnership with the medical community, the NFSC is an excellent resource for couples or individuals who have completed their families through IVF but still have remaining embryos that are cryopreserved, or frozen. Decision-making regarding remaining embryos is difficult and the NFSC provides free support and education to those struggling with those decisions. Those struggling with this decision may choose to donate their remaining embryos to another couple or individual who is still continuing to struggle with infertility. The NFSC provides on-going support to donors through the entire donation process.

The NFSC also provides education, support and matching services in support of embryo donation. Recipients of the gift of embryo donation may be blessed with the ability to build their own family by giving birth to a child through embryo donation. Encouragingly, many recipients do become pregnant by way of embryo donation, even when other forms of family building treatment have not been successful. Relationally, most families describe this process as similar to an adoption. However, it occurs at the earliest moment in time possible and includes the opportunity for the recipient to experience both the pregnancy and birth of their child.

The National Fertility Support Center, based in Kentwood, has one of the oldest embryo donation support programs in the United States. To learn more, see fertilitysupportcenter.org or call (616) 455-1499.