Virginia couples who are undergoing a divorce or considering one might be interested in the pending results of an ongoing case in California. In that case, a divorcing couple is fighting over who has the rights to the embryos they froze. The case was predicted to close in July, with the judge being allowed 90 days to issue a decision.
The couple froze the embryos, which used the woman’s eggs and the man’s sperm, after the woman was diagnosed with breast cancer. The woman anticipated that she might become infertile due to cancer treatments. The couple signed a consent form at the UCSF Medical Center’s Center for Reproductive Health, where the five embryos in question were created.
The husband argues that the consent form stated that in the event of a divorce, the embryos would be destroyed. However, if the husband died, then the embryos would become the property of his wife. The woman’s lawyer is now arguing that the embryos are the only chance the woman has of using her own genetic material to have a child since she is infertile. The husband, however, says that the woman is actually attempting to use the embryos for money since he claims she asked him how much they would be worth.
This type of case has been tried before, and both times, the women won. What the case is really testing is whether the consent form signed by both parties at the time of the creation of the embryos will be followed. The result of this case can have a major impact throughout the country, and a person in this situation may wish to obtain the advice of a family law attorney before entering into an agreement.
Source: NBC News, “San Francisco Couple in Bitter Divorce Battle Over Frozen Embryos,” Emil Guillermo, July 16, 2015