Disposition of unused cryopreserved embryos: opportunities and liabilities

Susan C. Klock*, Steven R. Lindheim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cryopreservation of embryos has become an essential aspect of assisted reproductive technology, allowing for greater clinical efficiency and increased safety. However, the increasing numbers of cryopreserved embryos in clinics worldwide pose challenges to all stakeholders with respect to the disposition and donation of one's embryos when the gamete providers have completed their family building. The following series of articles provides an update of outcomes, challenges, and controversies related to embryo disposition. The first article describes the current and future medical potential of donated embryos for human stem cell research and other applications. Second, the practice of embryo donation to other intended parent(s) is summarized, and a review of the literature on child outcomes is presented. Third, the logistics and programmatic steps in managing embryos designated for disposal are discussed, including the option for compassionate transfer. Fourth, legal experts summarize precedent setting cases in the United States and the current legal environment of unused embryo management in the setting of the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • cryopreservation
  • Embryo disposition
  • embryo donation
  • human stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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