The issue of frozen embryos and the rights to same has been an ongoing issue in many areas of the country and in different courts. It is an issue for heterosexual couples as well as the LGBTQ community and anyone who has reproductive challenges. The issues can be extremely complicated even if the conceptions of the embryos were under the auspices of a legal marriage or where the sperm donor is through a sperm bank. A known donor actually creates additional concerns and issues.
I was recently contacted by a colleague looking for guidance in dealing with a lesbian couple facing a divorce where stored embryos will be an issue.
The case in this article does not address all of the variety of issues that can come up when dealing with frozen embryos and how the law treats them. However, it does bring home a very important point; the better choice for clients when choosing alternative reproductive methods is to be sure that everyone's rights with respect to the embryos including a possible donor are detailed and acknowledged in a written agreement between the parties, especially if there is sperm from a known donor not chosen through a sperm bank. Many times lesbian and gay couples may use family members as a donor to have similar genetic makeup in their children for the non-biological parent. This again can create complicated situations that, although the parties may not want to address in writing, they absolutely should.
There are very strong feelings around reproductive rights and ones connection to a child or possible child. These must all be considered and people really must know where they stand before they end up in a situation where the courts have to decide.
This stresses another good reason why people should use the skills of a trained Mediator and/or trained Collaborative attorney to resolve these issues before they get to the point where the party is facing a dissolution to the relationship and a problem as to the rights of their embryos.
Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Storm Gifford, NY Daily News
Photo courtesy of Andrei Tchernov/Getty Images