Divorce disputes over frozen embryos

Couples in Pennsylvania who are divorcing also have to decide what to do with their frozen embryos if they’ve been undergoing IVF treatments. Prospective parents usually sign a contract with the facility that stores their embryos that presents them with the choice of continuing to freeze the embryos or donating them in the event of a divorce. Divorcing couples can also choose to have them destroyed.

Estranged couples often disagree about the fate of their embryos. Further complicating the issue is the fact that there are few legal precedents and laws in place that advise divorcing couples about how the custody of their frozen embryos should be handled. Additionally, some of the contracts that IVF facilities make prospective parents sign may not even be legally binding. This can create a legal dilemma because courts generally take the position that a person should not be forced to become a parent against his or her will. However, courts will take into consideration whether the destruction of the embryos will end an individual’s opportunity to become a biological parent.

It is important that people keep up with the payments for storing their frozen embryos. In some cases, disputes over frozen embryos have gone on for years, and if a couple stops paying the storage fees, their embryos could end up being destroyed without them knowing.

Resolving a sensitive and emotional issue like the custody of frozen embryos through negotiation instead of litigation is usually the most effective course of action. Mediation is a civil method for deciding the fate of frozen embryos. In a collaborative divorce, a couple endeavors to come up with a solution that works for both parties. Litigation, on the other hand, is inherently an adversarial process and usually ends with one party winning and the other losing.

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