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Who gets custody of embryos after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2022 | Fertility Assistance |

California couples who have fertility issues often choose in vitro fertilization (IVF) to start families. However, if a couple ends up getting a divorce and has unused embryos left over, things might be complex. Who gets custody of those embryos? There are some real stories about this very issue that might give insight into the answer to that question.

Donated embryos

One couple had a dilemma with the wife learning that she had breast cancer shortly before getting married. She had gone through egg retrieval and had embryos created using her husband’s sperm in the hopes of someday having children after chemotherapy made it unlikely that she could conceive naturally.

The marriage came to an end, and the husband claimed that he only married his wife so that she could have health insurance while battling cancer. The wife was shocked and saddened by the revelation and requested custody of the embryos. The husband didn’t want children, and the judge decided that the unused embryos should be donated.

Destroyed embryos

Another couple who divorced had a contentious disagreement over their unused embryos. The wife also had cancer and was told she was infertile as a result of chemotherapy treatments. The husband didn’t want to be forced to be involved in a child’s life if any of the embryos were used. The judge in the case ended up ordering the embryos to be destroyed.

Custody of children resulting from embryos

Another divorced couple who had embryos argued over what should happen to those embryos. The husband wanted to have any children resulting from implanted embryos to be put up for adoption outside of their state. The wife, however, wanted to have a child from the embryos and raise them herself. The judge awarded custody of the embryos to the husband.

Custody of embryos is emotionally difficult, especially when infertility is an issue.