Knowledgeable Family Law Representation

What happens when you have frozen embryos and get a divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Divorce |

Divorce is complex enough for California couples. However, if there are frozen embryos involved, it can cause a larger issue. Who gets those embryos after the divorce is final?

What happens when couples have frozen embryos?

Many couples struggle with fertility issues or question when they want to become parents. With more people pushing back on starting a family, they might turn to in-vitro fertilization and freezing their viable embryos for the future. However, if a couple decides to get a divorce, this could become a major issue of contention.

Fertility clinics often require couples to sign an agreement that determines what happens with their embryos if they never use them. Consent is required for whatever happens whether the embryos are discarded or used for other couples. However, couples who end up in divorce court still fight over custody of their frozen embryos.

What happens with the embryos after a divorce?

In addition to forms dictating what happens with unused embryos, some fertility clinics require married couples to sign agreements specifically stating what might happen with them if the couple gets a divorce. Options the couple could choose include donating them to a third party or for medical research. Another option is to have them discarded. However, some couples decide that one spouse will get the frozen embryos to use if they split up.

One solution that definitively explains what can happen with frozen embryos upon divorce is a prenuptial agreement. In a prenup, a clause could include an agreement that determines what will happen with embryos in the event that the couple ends up getting a divorce. This is one of the best ways to prepare for the future, but it’s something that must be done ahead of the marriage.

A postnuptial agreement might also be an option for determining what happens to frozen embryos if a married couple decides to end their marriage.