Dividing frozen embryos in divorce

If you have frozen embryos with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may need to go to court to determine who gets access to the embryos in a case of complex asset division. Here are some important things to know about dividing frozen embryos in a New York divorce.

What happens to frozen embryos in divorce?

When it comes to complex asset division, frozen embryos can be a byproduct of couples who were trying to have a baby using reproductive technology. The embryos could be left over from previous procedures, and the decision that the court makes concerning these embryos could have life-changing effects for the divorcing couple.

Couples who have frozen embryos likely had to sign documents with their spouse before starting in vitro fertilization to specify what would be done with the embryos if the couple’s marriage ends. Some people choose to have the embryos destroyed or donated for the purpose of medical research. It’s important to read all the details of the documents to get a clear understanding of what happens to frozen embryos in a divorce.

Additional complications

Embryos are considered assets to be divided in divorce like the couple’s other properties, but factors like infertility and a couple’s existing children can make the divorce process more complicated. If one spouse is infertile and their soon-to-be-ex does not want to take on the financial and daily responsibilities of having a child, the judge may rule that the infertile spouse cannot keep the embryos. A judge may also take the family’s dynamic into account to determine if using the frozen embryos would be in the best interest of the children the couple already has. If the two spouses are able to come to an agreement instead of leaving it up to the judge, they may be happier with the final decision.