Don't feel bad - until not too long ago we didn't know either! The truth is, it's rather simple and a bit surprising that we haven't all heard about this long ago.
For a variety of reasons, there are literally hundreds of thousands of embryos in a state of perpetual 'chill.' The most common reason is that the embryos are a product of people engaged in the process of Invitro Fertilization (IVF).
The number of embryos created during an IVF treatment is not fixed - it is a matter of biological significance above the pay grade of any physician! Eggs are harvested, the process is begun and it's up to God how many embryos form. If thirty eggs are harvested, it is possible that ten become embryos...it's possible that all 30 become embryos!
If the biological parents are unable to implant all of their embryos, they are able to remain in a frozen state for a long period of time. For some, this creates a personal point of angst.
Some biological parents wish to have their embryos given a chance at life but are unable to provide it themselves. Often times the reason is physical or health realated. Sometimes it is more personal and complicated than that. Simply donating them is an option, but for some some parents they desire more input into the process.
That's where embryo adoption fits in. It is the exact same process of adoption for 'born' children that includes local and regional agencies, home studies, background checks and everything else that goes along with it!
Genetic parents are able to set more specific criteria about the homes in which their children will be raised and contact with families is more regulated than if their embryos were merely donated. They also have the peace of mind to know that we have been fully scrutinized as a family so that their embryos have the best chance of becoming happy, healthy children physically and emotionally.
So there you have it - Embryo Adoption. It's like regular adoption...only smaller!