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Who gets custody of frozen embryos after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2022 | Fertility Assistance |

California residents have options when it comes to starting a family. Some couples might decide to freeze embryos, but what happens if they go through a divorce?

What happens if divorcing spouses fight over frozen embryos?

Fertility is a complex issue, which means that if a couple divorces and they have unused frozen embryos, there might be a battle over them.

Some people struggle with fertility issues and might see no other option to become parents. As a result, they might want to use the frozen embryos to start a family. Legally, deciding who gets to keep frozen embryos can be a tricky concept as it’s still pretty new.

How have courts decided on custody of frozen embryos thus far?

There have been cases involving divorcing spouses battling over what would happen to their frozen embryos. Some have resulted in the court allowing the unused embryos to be donated to a couple who desperately needed them. Other cases resulted in frozen embryos being discarded.

Some courts have allowed one spouse to use the embryos to start a family in spite of the other spouse objecting. This is a typical decision involving frozen embryos as many courts decide in favor of the woman in situations where it could be their last chance to start a family.

What can happen if neither party wishes to keep the embryos?

In some cases, neither spouse wants to keep the unused frozen embryos. In that situation, there are other options, but the spouses might still disagree on what happens. The embryos could be discarded, donated to another couple or person who wants to have a child or even donated for medical research purposes. If the spouses agree that they don’t want to keep the embryos but disagree on what should happen to them, the court can ultimately make the decision.

Divorce can be more complicated when there’s an issue of frozen embryos. The court will make a careful decision based on surrounding factors.