"A major goal of the Frozen Embryo Donation Service is to develop training programs for infertility clinics, including physicians, nurses and mental health counselors, and facilitate new protocols to support embryo donation in the U.S.," said Alison Zimon, MD, a Reproductive Endocrinologist at Boston IVF and Principal Investigator for this program.
Working with researchers from Brandeis University, data on donor attitudes and responses, recipient knowledge and interest, and changes in patient behavior, including donation rates, are being evaluated. Changes in clinical staff knowledge and attitudes are also being studied. "By educating clinicians and other key staff, and enhancing patient communication, we hope to establish frozen embryo donation as a realistic, cost effective and successful treatment option for many patients undergoing infertility treatment," added Zimon.
The Office of Population Affairs (OPA) within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH), within HHS, is conducting a multi-year public awareness campaign, to increase public awareness of embryo donation and ultimately promote the use of embryo donation as a family building option. Since 2002, nine organizations have received grant funding as part of this effort. Boston IVF is the largest infertility practice to be selected by HHS to participate in this grant program. Full story can be found here.
Medical Director for the National Embryo Donation Center Jeffrey Keenan, MD: “Currently, there are more than 600,000 human embryos cryopreserved in clinics and storage facilities around the country. We applaud the grants that have been provided by the federal government over the last 10 years to increase awareness and provision of embryo donation and adoption services. These grants have been quite effective in achieving their goal, as evidenced by more than a 50 percent increase in the number of donor embryo transfers during that period. For the first time, more than 1,000 donor embryo transfers were performed in the U.S. in 2011 (the most recent year for which we have data). Pregnancy rates are uniformly high with this procedure and costs significantly lower than for in vitro fertilization and donor egg IVF. In total, we estimate that about 4,500 babies have been born as a result of embryo donation/adoption.
"Perhaps more importantly, this form of assisted reproduction provides the embryo donors with a life honoring alternative for their remaining embryos if they cannot use them personally for any reason.
"It is a shame that the federal government has ended funding for this valuable and effective program. In view of all the well-documented fraud seen with the distribution of government monies, it would appear that other programs could have been better candidates for termination.
"The National Embryo Donation Center was also a grantee for the funds mentioned in the article, and we are just now rolling out a national database where donors and recipients from around the country can go to facilitate this process. The NEDC is also still in need of affiliates in other parts of the country to assist in our backlog of donors and recipients desiring our services. To contact the NEDC please call toll free 866-585-8549."
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