Who gets to decide what to do with IVF embryos when you divorce?

| May 4, 2021 | Divorce |

Married couples facing issues with fertility have never had more options than there are available today. There are numerous treatments and legal systems that can help people expand their families. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most exciting steps forward in reproductive care. 

Through the harvesting of genetic materials from the parents, medical professionals are able to create healthy embryos in a laboratory setting. Then, after the woman carrying the children completes certain hormonal treatments, doctors can then insert the embryos in the hope that one or more will complete implantation and begin developing into a viable fetus.

IVF can take years to complete, and some couples may find themselves pursuing divorce while they still have IVF embryos in storage. What happens to such embryos if a couple in Connecticut divorces?

The courts will likely refer to your IVF contract

There are a lot of legal and medical consequences possible in the IVF process. Physicians aiding couples with IVF frequently require that their clients enter into a contract. This contract typically outlines the process of IVF and also details what the couple agrees to do with unused embryos if they separate before using all of the embryos.

Many couples agree to the destruction of unused embryos, although others can choose to donate their embryos or sometimes allow either spouse to use them in the future. The Connecticut courts have previously upheld such contracts even when one parent disputed the destruction of the embryos.

IVF embryos could be an incentive for collaborative divorce

Given that you have so little control over the specific term the judge sets in your divorce, you may want to be more proactive when it comes to something as personal as your IVF embryos. You and your ex may be able to reach an arrangement that suits you better through direct negotiations as part of a collaborative divorce.

When you have unusual and unique concerns at the end of your marriage, it is important to familiarize yourself with state law and court precedent in other Connecticut divorces to understand your options.