Deciding what to do with unused embryos

Marjorie Solomon, VARTA's Public Relations Officer.

Marjorie Solomon, Public Relations Officer

Last week, VARTA’s CEO Louise Johnson and Senior Research Officer Dr Karin Hammarberg spoke to Penny Johnston at ABC Babytalk on the subject of what to do with unused embryos. The program was informative and sensitive to the complexity of this issue and is really worth a listen.

Louise and Karin discussed the difficulty many people face when contemplating what they should do once they have decided to end their IVF treatment – usually because they feel their family is complete. They talked about the options available to people, including:

  • Donating embryos for use by other couples or individuals.
  • Donating embryos for research.
  • Disposing of embryos.

The program considered the reality that while each person feels differently about their embryos position, for most people this is not a simple decision. It examined the various perspectives and concerns that people can have when deciding what to do.

Louise and Karin talked about how VARTA’s embryo decision making tool may be useful for couples and individuals struggling with this subject. Decision tools are commonly used in other areas of health care to help patients resolve difficult choices around possible treatment options, although they have not been used previously to assist with decision-making regarding unused embryos.

ABC Babytalk podcast ‘Donating Embryos’

What to do with your unused embryos? 

Decision tool for unused embryos