Getting divorced can be a stressful event, especially if the former couple has children. However, a divorce can become even more contentious if a California couple was in the process of trying to conceive a child through in vitro fertilization when they ultimately decided to end their marriage. Although frozen embryos that are waiting to be implanted are considered to be joint property, the few court decisions on the subject offer little guidance for those having to make a decision about them.
When a couple begins the IVF process, they will work with a storage facility that stores the embryos until it is time for them to be implanted. They often have the couple sign a consent agreement, which outlines what the facility should do in the event that the couple gets a divorce or dies. The options are often to continue storing them, donating them or have them be destroyed.
If one person wants to use the embryos to conceive a biological child and the other person does not, the court most likely may not force a person to become a parent against his or her will. However, there are extenuating circumstances that could result in a different ruling. If this is the last chance for a person to conceive a biological child, for example, the judge may side with that person.
Making decisions regarding frozen embryos during the divorce process can have profound impacts on both individuals. If a person does not want to become a parent after the divorce attorney may assist with requesting that the embryos either be destroyed or donated depending on the person’s preferences.