Embryo Adoption vs. Embryo Donation
The two processes are basically the same. It's just a matter of perspective and psychology. Couples giving away their extra embryos tend to prefer the term donation. The term "donation" tends to be considered as giving a gift and provides the necessary emotional separation many couples seek. This emotional separation isn't the same if the phrase "placing for adoption" is used.
Families on the receiving end of the donated embryos tend to use the term embryo adoption. The hope is that there will be a child born from the gift and the term "adoption" makes more sense emotionally because children are adopted, not donated. The term "adoption" also implies the transfer of parental rights in the same way there would be with a traditional adoption.
Embryo donation and embryo adoption are terms that are often used interchangeably even though the process of sharing your embryos isn't a true adoption. Under current law a true adoption is the placement of a child after the child is born. That said, there are still legal documents to be signed by both parties in an embryo donation. These documents are as legally binding as traditional adoption documents.
The Donation Process
The process donation varies from clinic to clinic. Donations made through a fertility clinic tend to be anonymous. The clinic often allows the donors to specify some of the requirements they would like to see in the recipient couple. Directed donations are usually done through an agency, although occasionally clinics allow this type of donation as well.
An adoption agency will often allow the family to specifically choose who will receive their embryos. They can often determine the level of contact they'll have with the family if the donated embryos become a full-grown, to-term baby.
In the majority of donation programs, the recipient couple is screened for infectious disease and overall reproductive health. Sometimes their ability to parent is evaluated. If an adoption agency is involved in the donation procedure, a more thorough evaluation of the recipient couple is done. The agency will often provide the adopting parent with parenting training as well as extra assistance and guidance as the child grows.