The world of assisted reproductive law consists of a variety of methods for those seeking to become parents or to help others become parents. This can be achieved by sperm donation, egg donation, embryo donation or surrogacy. Unfortunately, the law has not kept up with advances in the area of assisted reproduction. This leads to legal gray areas and unanswered questions. There is currently very little established law in California directing the courts on how to handle issues stemming from the methods utilized in assisted reproduction.
One of the most recent examples of this involves the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos from an extracted sperm and egg cell. Doctors implant some of the embryos in the woman and the remaining embryos are generally cyropreserved (frozen) in the event that the couple chooses to implant them at a later date. These frozen embryos present a challenging question in the event of a divorce or separation. A common scenario occurs where one party wants to keep the embryos for future implantation, while the other party would prefer to have them destroyed.
It is important to consult with an attorney before beginning the IVF process or any other assisted reproductive method to ensure that the fertility clinic's contracts, agreements, and/or informed consent documents are current, legally accurate, and carefully articulate the parties' wishes.
If you are considering the use of assisted reproduction, or need zealous advocacy on your behalf regarding an assisted reproductive issue, contact our office to schedule a consultation with Amanda J. Rydza who has experience in this area of law.