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Disputes over frozen embryos in a divorce

Michigan couples who have undergone IVF treatments and who subsequently decide to divorce may have frozen embryos in storage. While there are many laws in place dealing with child custody in a divorce, few address the issues of frozen embryos. Furthermore, while they may have signed an agreement about preserving the embryos, there may have been few or no provisions dealing with what might happen in a divorce.

Disputes over embryos could take years to resolve. Courts are taking into account two potentially contradictory positions. One is that a person cannot force their spouse or ex-spouse to become a parent unless both parties desire it. However, in some cases, a person might never be able to become a parent if frozen embryos are destroyed, and courts are increasingly weighing this against the consent of the other parent.

Couples should discuss this possibility when they begin IVF procedures. They should also keep in mind that storage fees for embryos must be kept current or the embryos might be destroyed while the parents are still in litigation.

This is one of many issues couples might be able to negotiate outside of court with the assistance of their Oakland County, Michigan divorce attorneys. While litigation automatically places couples into an adversarial position against one another, a more cooperative approach outside of court might focus on reaching a compromise that suits both parties. This may be particularly important when it comes to an issue as emotionally fraught as IVF and frozen embryos. Furthermore, if a judge makes a decision regarding embryos or any other issues in a divorce that people are unhappy with, they might still have to abide by the judge's decision with little no recourse.

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