What happens to frozen embryos during a divorce?

On Behalf of | May 16, 2024 | Family Law |

Couples in Alabama who struggle with infertility may turn to IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, as a way to have children. This process can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful, which is why many choose to have additional embryos frozen in case they decide to have more children in the future. Frozen embryos may become a concern if a couple decides to divorce. If you have frozen embryos and are going through a divorce, you may have questions about who will have control of those embryos once the divorce is final.

Check your IVF paperwork

Going through IVF comes with many different forms that require signatures. You may not have read all the forms thoroughly when you signed them. Some fertility treatment providers will require both parties to sign a document agreeing to what happens to the remaining embryos if the couple divorces. The form may require the destruction of the embryos, allow you to donate them, or give one party the decision-making power to decide what happens to them. Without a document outlining the terms, you may have to negotiate with your soon-to-be ex about what to do with the embryos.

Other things to consider

If one party wants to gain possession of the frozen embryos, but the other party does not want more children, a judge may intervene to decide the matter. Legally, the biological parent could be financially responsible for any future children born from those embryos, even if that party did not consent to the embryos implanted. This is a very complex issue that can impact everyone involved.

If you have frozen embryos, you may also be concerned about the recent changes to Alabama’s laws surrounding IVF. The impact of these changes on IVF procedures has yet to be determined, but those who currently have frozen embryos are right to have questions about what would happen to those embryos during divorce. There are no simple answers to dealing with frozen embryos after divorce, and each situation varies greatly, which may leave the decision up to a family court judge.

Legal advice

Deciding what to do with frozen embryos after divorce can be difficult, especially if one party wants more children and the other doesn’t. If you and your soon-to-be ex can’t agree on what to do with the embryos, a judge will have to decide. If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of the divorce process, an Alabama family law attorney can provide you with the guidance you need to proceed forward.


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