What happens to frozen embryos in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2021 | Divorce

With all of the advancements in fertility science, many couples are able to have children who were once told it wasn’t possible for one reason or another. These couples may have frozen embryos that they are saving for the future. But if a couple decides to get divorced, what happens to the frozen embryos can become a contentious issue.

Frozen embryos and divorce

Nobody gets married with the intention of getting divorced. Unfortunately, divorce can become a reality for many couples. The process of dividing property and assets in a divorce can be challenging to work through, and it is becoming more common that a couple has frozen embryos that will need to be included in the agreement.

Marital property

Most fertility clinics have extensive paperwork that needs to be completed by the couple in regard to many decisions that need to be made at the start of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. The decisions may include how or if the extra embryos should be stored, if one party wants to keep the embryos and the other doesn’t, what happens if one party passes away, and what to do with the embryos in the event of a divorce.

Legal assistance may be necessary

If the parties’ contract with the fertility clinic is not clear on the disposition of the embryos in the event of a divorce, the court will have the power to determine ownership of the embryos under marital property. An attorney who specializes in family law can help their client understand their options when it comes to custody of their frozen embryos. An attorney understands that genetic material can be extremely contentious in a divorce and will fight for their client’s rights and help protect their wishes.