Embryo Remains Burial

Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter (SHG) facilitates a communal burial for embryos who die in ART (i.e., IVF) laboratories. Cause of death includes:

  • • Self-arrest any time after fertilization
  • • Discard per grade, PGD or PGS result
  • • Failure to survive freeze or thaw process
  • • Cryo-preservation equipment malfunction
  • • Patient-elected thaw without transfer

A special note on frozen embryos: 

A frozen embryo is a living human being in a state of “suspended animation.” Thawing the embryo for any reason other than uterine transfer will kill it.

For this reason, please keep in mind that Embryo Remains Burial is not a “disposition option” for frozen embryos who will not be transferred. Burial should not be considered alongside options typically presented by clinics for these cases (examples: donation to another person(s), donation to research, or thaw for discard).  Instead, burial is an honorable way to handle the remains of an embryo after it has died, and honors the embryo’s life in a way that waste disposal can not.

For Patients: How It Works (Labs: Click Here)

  • Tell your IVF clinic or lab that you would like the embryos who die in the lab to be buried by Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter (SHG).
  • Your lab will ship the remains to SHG. Remains are kept at a licensed funeral home until burial.
  • A communal burial service is held quarterly at a Roman Catholic cemetery (St. Paul, MN). We gladly serve people of all faiths.
  • No patient-identifying information is needed.
  • Documentation, including service program and location of the grave within the cemetery, is mailed to your clinic, and you may retrieve it from there, as you desire. With your permission, we can send this information directly to you.
  • SHG’s remains burial is offered free of cost. We are funded by private donations.

Burials are held at 10 am on the following Saturdays, in conjunction with a fetal remains service for families who experienced a miscarriage.

  • February 1, 2020
  • May 2, 2020
  • August 1, 2020
  • November 7, 2020

Burials are held at Resurrection Cemetery: 2101 Lexington Avenue South, Mendota Heights, MN 55120. For more information about the cemetery, Click Here.

Sacred Heart Guardians and Shelter (SHG) is grateful for the support and services provided by the partnership of The Catholic Cemeteries, specifically Resurrection Cemetery, and Gill Brothers Funeral Homes.

For more information, contact Laura at 612-578-0377 or laura@sacredheartguardians.org.