Access to Thousands of Frozen Human Embryos now Possible Through Canada's
First Open Embryo Donation Program

HAMILTON, ON, April 9 /CNW/ - Canada's first open embryo donation program has been launched by Beginnings Family Services, a not-for-profit registered charity providing compassionate pregnancy support services, infertility counseling, and adoption services to clients since 1985.

"Embryo donation addresses a major dilemma for many Canadians who have completed in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments," says Beginnings Executive Director, Kerry Vandergrift.

IVF has resulted in thousands of unused frozen embryos remaining stored in fertility clinics across Canada. Couples completing IVF treatment are faced with a dilemma - what to do with their remaining embryos. Until now, options were limited to having their embryos destroyed, leaving the embryos stored indefinitely, or donating their embryos for medical research.

"Now there's another option," says Ms Vandergrift. "Beginnings has launched an Embryo Donation Program giving couples the opportunity to donate their remaining embryos to infertile couples hoping to become parents. This altruistic donation offers embryos a chance for life, and hope for thousands of infertile Canadians.

Embryo donation is not adoption or surrogacy. The couple donating the embryo selects the recipient couple. The recipient female carries the embryo to term and becomes the delivered child's birth mother. Importantly, the Beginnings Embryo Donation Program is based on 'openness' which involves ongoing communication and contact between the donor parents and the recipients, including the child.

Beginnings believes openness is most beneficial for the child. Ms Vandergrift explains, "An open approach allows the children to maintain a relationship with people important in their lives. Parents and children have access to information regarding the child's cultural and genetic origins, as well as to any siblings they may have from the donor family."

Beginnings provides professional services for the Embryo Donation Program including: registration, comprehensive recipient assessment reports and screening, openness education, profiles and posting, consultation and inter family meetings, referrals for legal advice and fertility clinic embryo transfer service, administration and follow-up, covenant agreements, and support over a lifetime for children and families across the country. Costs are comparable to or less than most domestic private adoptions and parallel the rigorous recipient screening process, education, consultation, preparation and support for on going open relationships. Beginnings offers financial assistance to those in need.

Potential donors and recipients may learn more about the Embryo Donation Program by visiting the Beginnings website at www.beginnings.ca.

SOURCE BEGINNINGS FAMILY SERVICES

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Peter Reesor, Public Relations Consultant, Beginnings Family Services, Work: (905) 648-9967; Inquiries: Beginnings Family Services, (905) 528-6665, Toll Free: 1-877-528-6665, Cell: (905) 512-9655

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BEGINNINGS FAMILY SERVICES

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