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Judge Rules Embryos Must Be Destroyed After Couple Divorces

Custody and visitation issues can be one of the most antagonistic aspects of a divorce. However, with the strides made in the infertility field in the last few decades, divorcing partners may now also find themselves struggling over what to do with frozen embryos. In what could be a landmark decision for the couples dealing with these issues in the rest of the country, a California judge has ruled that the five frozen embryos of one divorced couple must be “thawed and destroyed.”

According to reports, the couple’s agreement with the fertility clinic they used in 2010 included stipulations that any unused embryos must be destroyed in the event of the couple’s divorce. However, when the couple did divorce in 2013, the woman attempted to fight the contract in family court as part of the couple’s divorce proceedings. The woman reportedly requested that she be allowed to retain at least one of the embryos with the intention of using it for a pregnancy. When her ex-husband denied the request, it went before the courts.

The woman argued that denying her the right to the embryos was denying her the right to procreate. However, the judge disagreed and said it only denied her the right to procreate with her ex-husband. The ex-husband claimed that he feared the woman would use any potential children to get money from him in the future.

Even though the judge has ruled on the case involving the embryos, both sides have the right to file any additional motions pertaining to the case. Because this is still a relatively new issue in our society, the law is still catching up to this complicated and often quite nuanced problem. It’s important for those in similar situations to be fully informed of their rights and any applicable state and federal laws.

Source: Inquisitr, “Frozen embryos must be destroyed divorce case highlights ethics and legalities of IVF,” Patricia Ramirez, Nov. 21, 2015

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