The Last Straw: Embryo Adoption

It’s early morning at the National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC) in Knoxville, Tenn. Dr. Carol Sommerfelt, the embryologist, has already begun her full day of transfers. I watch as she draws tiny plastic straws from liquid nitrogen tanks and dips the tubes containing embryos into a controlled-temperature bath. She checks and rechecks names and numbers. After taking the straws to the microscope’s stage, she snips off the ends. Holding her breath, she slowly pushes a plunger through the straw. One by one the embryos move into a Petri dish that contains the proper media for safe thawing and expansion. The […]

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