Courts Remain Divided Over Custody Relating to Frozen Embryos

The advancement of medical science has given couples in Denver the ability to choose when they want to have children. As a result, some couples have participated in a process that creates embryos with the purpose of freezing them for later use. Their reasons may vary from a health condition that could leave the woman infertile to simply wanting to focus on their careers. However, these embryos are now becoming a legal question for courts to decide when couples break apart.

MedCity News points out that many of these couples put together a legal contract that often awards the woman the embryos. However, many courts are dismissing the legality of such an agreement. The problem is that courts cannot decide whether the embryos should be treated as children or simply as marital property. If the embryos are treated as children, this means the ex-spouse could be under the legal requirement to support those children, even if he didn’t want them to be born.

While some courts are treating the embryos more like property, others are not. According to NPR, In one state, the court ruled in favor of the husband, stating that it wasn’t right “to force the man to become a parent against his wishes.” In that case, the husband and wife had gone through seven in vitro fertilization procedures and every contract granted the embryos to the wife.

In another case that has garnered national attention, the wife is seeking the embryos even though she signed a contract that stipulated that the embryos would be destroyed if she and her husband divorced. However, her situation is a bit different in that she has breast cancer and she is nearing the age of 50. The two situations could leave her unable to conceive and become a mother. The clinic that is holding the embryos is arguing that the contract is valid but her attorney states the opposite. 

Tags: Child Custody

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