Beach specialist searching donors who've left frozen embryos

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by Lucy Bustamante, 13News Now

WVEC.com

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 30 at 7:38 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH-A Va. Beach fertility specialist has a dilemma - what should be done with hundreds of seemingly forgotten frozen embryos.

Dr. Robin Poe Zeigler with the New Hope Center in Virginia Beach was on the Katie Couric show Monday discussing open embryo adoption, the first one done in her clinic.

The couple who donated their embryo already had twin girls and didn't want to discard their 11 frozen embryos so they used the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, an organization that connects donor parents with couples who are struggling with fertility.
 
Dr. Zeigler hopes the publicity will bring attention to the clinic's dilemma - what should be done with hundreds of seemingly forgotten frozen embryos.

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine reports this is a problem nationwide.

Here's how it happens - couples will choose invitro fertilization and more will fertilize then expected. Only a small number are inserted into the mother and the others are frozen or "cryo-preserved."

"I know my center has several hundred abandoned cryo-preserved embryos. We can not find their genetic parents," said Zeigler. She says her center has gone through all the avenues of looking for the parents and the law does allow her to discard them after five years. She says she's too nervous to do that.

"We're just concerned that the parents will eventually show up and say something awful happened but now we're back for our embryos. God forbid those were our only chance to get pregnant," Zeigler said.

She says she'll waive all the costs associated with keeping the embryos frozen if the mothers and fathers will just come forward - whether they want to save the embryos, donate them or discard them.

 

 

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