Reporter Alan Zarembo explored how California Conceptions is allegedly creating “donated embryos” from donated sperm and donated eggs. “Embryo donation occurs when patients with excess cryopreserved embryos make the amazing decision to donate their frozen embryos to patients in need,” explained Dr. Craig Sweet, medical and practice director of EDI. “The L.A. Times report indicates that California Conceptions is creating embryos through the combination of donor eggs and donor sperm and marketing them as donated embryos. If they are claiming they are donated embryos, nothing could be further from the truth.”
Creating embryos in such a way raises several important ethical concerns about ownership of these embryos, including if donors were provided adequate informed consent and if the embryos were created without a specific designation of intended parents. In addition, it clearly subverts the true intent of embryo donation, which is to provide former fertility patients who have excess cryopreserved embryos the opportunity to donate them to patients in need to help build families.
Dr. Sweet responded unequivocally:
Dr. Sweet further explained that physicians and clinics should be conservators or protectors of the cryopreserved embryos and never be responsible for making the ultimate disposition decisions. All of EDI’s donated embryos come from former patients who want to pay it forward by donating their embryos. EDI considers creating and banking embryos without having specific intended parents to receive them as unethical and a distortion of its hard work to advance embryo donation. “This practice threatens to damage legitimate embryo donation facilities as well as reflects poorly on IVF facilities in general,” Dr. Sweet concluded. “It is simply unethical to create banks of cryopreserved embryos and wait for them to be chosen.”
While performing embryo donation since 2001, Dr. Sweet created EDI in 2011 to increase the number of cryopreserved embryos donated by former infertility patients, reduce the number of frozen embryos discarded or abandoned and assist in the ethical, fair and nondiscriminatory manner the matching of donated embryos to patients in need.
ABOUT EMBRYO DONATION INTERNATIONAL (EDI)
Embryo Donation International (EDI) is a private reproductive endocrinology and infertility practice located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is one of the few, non-faith-based, non-discriminatory embryo donation facilities in the United States. Founded by Dr. Craig R. Sweet in 2011 as an expansion of its 10 year-old embryo donation program (sometimes referred to as embryo adoption), it is one of the most experienced and cost-effective embryo donation centers in the United States. For more information, contact Dr. Sweet at 800.334.2184, 239.275.5728 or visit http://www.embryodonation.com/
NOTE: Dr. Sweet has also published a blog response to this as well on his site at http://www.embryodonationblog.com/