Embryo donation is a relatively new process in which individuals with extra frozen embryos agree to release the embryos for use by another woman who wishes to achieve pregnancy.
The recipient can be either anonymous or known to the donor(s).
Technological advances in the past decade have
raised the success rates for this type of procedure to a level at least comparable to standard IVF.
Despite the increasing success rate compared to IVF, there is still relatively little public understanding of this method of family building.
The goal of this program is to increase the publicâs awareness of frozen embryo adoption and to make it more practically accessible to infertile couples.
This notice solicits applications for projects of two types:
(1) Projects that increase public awareness of embryo donation and/or adoption; and (2) Projects that offer services, including counseling, to couples that are currently involved, or soon may be involved, in the process of embryo donation and/or adoption.
Applicants may also propose a project that addresses both the âpublic awarenessâ aspect of the program and the âservicesâ aspect in a single application.
This aspect of the program comprises traditional media and advertising modalities, "new media" efforts (such as blogging) as well as generalized education in the basic principles of embryo donation/adoption that can be offered to large audiences.
Applicants should make reasonable efforts to ensure that the individuals who design and implement the public awareness projects are knowledgeable in all facets of the embryo donation and/or adoption process and are experienced in providing such information.
Applicants are encouraged to incorporate, to the extent possible, the concepts of Reproductive Life Planning in their public awareness messaging.
Reproductive Life Planning (RLP) is a process by which an individual 1) establishes goals about the number and spacing of children that she or he wants; and, 2) marshals resources (including physical health and time) in an effort to meet those goals.
More information about RLP is available at www.cdc.gov/preconception/reproductiveplan.html Applicants are encouraged to develop a plan to counter common misconceptions about frozen embryo adoption that appear in traditional and social media (e.
that frozen embryos only remain viable for a limited time) by citing recent developments noted in the medical, legal and social science literature.
Applicants should cite literature that demonstrates the possible medical, financial and psychological advantages of embryo adoption as an alternative method of family building for infertile individuals.
In the narrative section of the application, applicants are advised to describe the strategies and processes that they will use to design a public awareness campaign.
The applicant should document its capacity to undertake an awareness campaign focused on the general public or on professional audiences.
Among these professions where greater awareness of embryo donation would be especially beneficial are the legal profession and the gynecological profession.
Administrative or Medical Services:
This aspect of the program will include administrative and/or medical services to couples who are currently or potentially involved in embryo donation or adoption.
For the purposes of this announcement, counseling is considered a âmedical service.â âAdministrative servicesâ are those that help an embryo donation/adoption patient (or couple) to overcome the financial, legal, and other non-biologic obstacles that may occur in the process of embryo donation/adoption.
Training of professionals, for the purpose of enabling them to provide administrative and/or medical services, is also included within this aspect of the program.
In the narrative section of the application, applicants are advised to describe in detail the means they intend to use to assist couples who are in the process of embryo donation or adoption.
Applicants are encouraged to develop strategies for delivering services that increase the ability of couples to donate or adopt frozen embryos.
Strategies aimed at increasing the percentage of currently frozen embryos that are made available for donation/adoption are acceptable under this program.
In particular, applicants are urged to devise strategies that âfront loadâ services such as counseling so as to provide early information about the advantages (and disadvantages) of embryo donation/adoption to infertile couples.
In other words, applicants in this category are advised to develop counseling interventions that approach infertile couples who might consider embryo donation/adoption before they actually commit to the process of in vitro fertilization.
Applicants are advised to develop approaches that inform infertile couples who may be considering embryo donation/adoption about the advantages and disadvantages of embryo donation/adoption early in the coupleâs infertility journey.
For this purpose, projects which develop new approaches to gynecologic medical practices are strongly encouraged.
Projects that support administrative services for people who are contemplating embryo donation/adoption may also be funded.
A project that proposes a call-in center to give specific information on State or Federal policies and practices pertaining to frozen embryo transfer would be an example of this aspect of the Embryo Donation/Adoption program.
Embryo donation and/or adoption is a rapidly developing field.
The practice of embryo donation and/or adoption is complicated by the different attitudes and expectations that professionals, as well as potential donors, have about this option.
Many potential donors have limited knowledge of embryo donation and little access to information to aid them in making a decision on the donation of their embryos.
Potential donors may benefit from the provision of information and connection to support networks or peers.
OPA is interested in assisting potential donors with this difficult decision by training professionals to give supportive services to potential donors.
The current and emerging body of knowledge related to embryo donation and/or adoption should provide the basis for training content.
Successful applicants will be able to incorporate current, evidence-based information in all phases of training design, delivery, and evaluation.
Applicant organizations should demonstrate significant experience in the design, development, implementation, successful completion, and evaluation of training activities.
In addition, the successful applicant must demonstrate skill and experience in providing training to diverse groups.
The successful applicant will provide evidence of familiarity with embryo donation and/or adoption and the ability to translate evidence-based information into focused training activities.
Training professionals to offer medical or administrative services to couples who are involved in embryo donation/adoption is included in the âservicesâ aspect of the program.
Applicants may conduct training activities for professionals that offer couples or individuals help with the medical, legal, psycho-social, ethical, and practical issues surrounding embryo donation and/or adoption.
This training should be designed to enhance the ability of multiple levels of providers to share information and to assist potential donors with embryo donation and/or adoption.
Training design and content should be adjusted to the skill and practice role of the target audience.
OPA expects that appropriate continuing education credits will be available for professional training activities provided under this announcement.
The content and number of offerings should be based on an assessment of the need and these offerings should be designed and delivered in a manner appropriate to the content of the course as well as professional preparation of the participants.
Distance learning strategies may be incorporated as part of the training offerings.
Applicants are encouraged to devise strategies to identify the various professional audiences associated with embryo donation and/or adoption and to provide training to the involved professionals (e.g., gynecologists and other reproductive medicine physicians, nurses, embryologists, family practice lawyers, adoption counselors, ethicists, social workers, IVF clinic staff, embryo storage facility staff, etc.) in the complex legal, medical, psycho-social, ethical and practical issues that confront both embryo donors and embryo recipients.
Services provided by applicant organizations must be offered consistent with 42 CFR 5 9. 5(a)(4), which requires that services be provided âwithout regard to religion, race, color, national origin, handicapping condition, age, sex, number of pregnancies, or marital status.â Applicants are advised to demonstrate a familiarity with, and understanding of, professionally recognized standards or practices (both medical and legal) pertaining to embryo donation and/or adoption, as well as supportive services for potential donor or recipient couples.
The applicant organization should clearly demonstrate its professional knowledge and experience with potential donor or recipient populations.
The applicant should document its capacity to undertake a grant project that offers medical or administrative services to couples involved in embryo donation/adoption.
Applicants are encouraged to present a description of approaches which they propose to use in their service delivery.
These approaches should be economically feasible, equitable and ethically sound.
Only those organizations or agencies that demonstrate the capability of providing the proposed services and that meet the requirements of this announcement will be considered for awards.
Applications are encouraged from organizations that are currently operating programs that have the capability of providing services (including counseling) to people who are considering embryo donation and/or adoption.
Moreover, applicants are encouraged to develop the capability to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the funded project.
Faith-based and community-based organizations that meet the eligibility requirements are eligible to apply for these embryo donation and/or adoption grant projects.
Please note, however, that grant funds may not be used for inherently religious activities, such as worship, religious instruction, and proselytization.
If an organization engages in such activities, they must be offered separately in time or location from the grant program and participation must be voluntary for program beneficiaries.
In providing services and outreach related to program services, a funded entity may not discriminate against current or prospective program beneficiaries on the basis of religion, a religious belief, a refusal to hold a religious belief, or a refusal to actively participate in a religious practice.
Project funds cannot be used to pay for human tissues, nor for any approach that may be construed as involving compensation for the donation of human tissues.
Reimbursement of an embryo donor's already accrued storage fees is not considered an acceptable practice in this program.