What happens to frozen embryos after a divorce?

| Apr 16, 2021 | Divorce |

Having a baby can be a very important and exciting time for couples in the Bay Area. Growing a family may be something that both spouses want to do, but it is not always as easy as it may seem. Some may be able to conceive babies and carry them to full term, but others may struggle to conceive or may have miscarriages after they do conceive. This can happen for a variety of reasons and previously it may have meant that the couple would not be able to have children.

There have been many medical advances though and now processes such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are relatively common. Many couples who may not otherwise be able to have children may be able to. During this process the egg from the female is fertilized outside of the woman and embryos are then inserted into the woman’s uterus. During this process though it is quite common to create multiple embryos at the same time. Not all embryos may be used though and some may be frozen to potential use at a later date.

Importance of Consent Agreements

Prior to the IVF process starting couples in California must sign a consent agreement, which in part states the advanced directives that couples want for the embryos. One of these advanced directives states what the couple wants to do with any frozen embryos if the couple divorces prior to using the frozen embryos. During divorce California courts have upheld the directives to destroy them stated in the consent agreement even when one spouse wants to keep them. This means that couples need to have well drafted consent agreements and understand what they are agreeing to.

There are many couples in California who may have to utilize IVF in order to have children and grow their families. When doing this couples may not be thinking about divorce at all, but no one knows what will happen in the future. It is important that couples understand what they state in their consent agreement because they could be bound by that decision even if they change their minds later. Experienced attorneys understand this unique area of law and may be a useful resource.

 

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