Divorcing couple standing with their backs to one another.

Divorce: What Happens to Frozen Embryos?

Divorce doesn’t just change your present circumstances; it rewrites your future. Suddenly, you go from thinking you’re going to spend the rest of your life with someone to having no idea what tomorrow will bring. One aspect of our futures that divorce can change in an instant is our plans to have children with our current spouse. This can especially be an issue if we share frozen embryos with our future ex-spouse.

What Are the Options for Divorcing Couples When It Comes to Frozen Embryos?

Decisions regarding what to do with frozen embryos in the event of divorce are more closely related to division of assets than child custody. In many instances, the contracts that couples sign with the fertility clinic include terms regarding what happens to the frozen embryos if one or both spouses die or if the spouses get divorced.

Still, not all fertility clinic contracts include language regarding these issues, and even if they do, sometimes spouses choose to challenge the contracts in court. Depending on the terms of a divorcing couple’s fertility clinic contract, there can be several options available to them when it comes to deciding what to do with their frozen embryos, including:

  • Keeping the Embryos – This can involve one or both spouses choosing to continue to keep the embryos in storage in case they decide to use them in the future.
  • Donating the Embryos – In this case, the spouses may decide to give the embryos to another couple who is trying to conceive. The divorcing couple may also decide to donate the embryos for training or research purposes.
  • Destroying the Embryos – Couples who choose this option have the embryos destroyed.

Due to the sensitive nature of this subject, it is ideal to discuss and agree to terms with your spouse regarding what will happen to your frozen embryos if you get divorced before you even begin the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. A great way to accomplish this is to include terms regarding frozen embryos in your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Discuss Your Situation with Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys for Free Today

When couples freeze embryos, those embryos mean everything to them. It’s not just about having children; it’s about building a family and leaving a legacy. In some cases, the embryos couples freeze may represent their last opportunity to have a biological child. Unfortunately, when couples divorce, frozen embryos can become a point of contention. One spouse may want to keep them, and the other spouse may want them destroyed.

Reaching an agreement regarding what to do with a divorcing couple’s frozen embryos is a complex and emotionally-charged negotiation. At Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, we specialize in guiding our clients through every aspect of the divorce process, including negotiations regarding child custody, alimony, domestic violence, orders of protection, child support, and property division. Our experienced family law attorneys have the knowledge and skills to help you find a satisfactory resolution if you and your spouse disagree about what to do with your frozen embryos.

To learn more about Levi Divorce & Family Law Attorneys, and how we can help you, check out our clients’ reviews.

For more information about options for divorcing couples with frozen embryos, or to speak with our experienced divorce lawyers about your situation, call us at (718) 215-0121 or reach out to us online today to schedule a free consultation.

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