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Frozen embryos and your divorce

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Family Law

With so many advancements in fertility medicine, many couples that struggle with conception have more opportunities than ever. When you seek fertility treatments, your fertility doctor might freeze embryos with the intention of using them later.

What happens if you file for divorce with those embryos in storage?

California law addresses embryo ownership

The state established legal ownership information for couples divorcing with embryos in storage. In the event of divorce, the court views any frozen embryos as joint property. That means neither party can use or destroy the embryos without a joint decision.

You have several options for dealing with embryos

You and your spouse have a few options for handling your frozen embryos. If you have no plans to use those embryos, the lab can destroy them. In other cases, you and your spouse may choose to store them in case something changes in the future. Some couples opt for surrogacy with those embryos as well.

Courts can rule on ownership

When you and your spouse begin fertility treatments and have embryos in storage, the conflict and challenging nature of divorce might leave you at odds about how to handle those embryos after your split. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on the final dispensation of your embryos, the court may decide for you.

Fertility treatments create a unique challenge when it comes to divorce settlements. Understanding California’s laws about embryo ownership can help you decide how you and your spouse might deal with any frozen embryos you have in storage.