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Wife awarded custody of frozen embryos after divorce

Advancements in technology have been a blessing to many couples who have experienced infertility in North Carolina. Where once the only option for couples who could not conceive children of their own was adoption, it is now possible for couples to conceive using a variety of methods including in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination. But what happens to the couples’ embryos in the event that they divorce?

This was the question at the center of a case in Maryland. The couple was divorced in 2012, but had nine frozen embryos that were created while they were married. The husband wanted the embryos to be destroyed, but the wife did not. In fact, she wanted custody of them. Despite the fact that the husband had been awarded sole child custody of their 3-year-old daughter because his wife had been named an unfit mother, she was still awarded custody of the embryos. This is because when the couple went to the fertility center where the embryos were created, they signed a legal document that awarded the wife custody of the embryos in the event of a divorce.

This case brings up a lot of questions about the rights both partners have in saying what happens to their embryos. The husband in this case has said he does not want any more children with his ex-wife, but if she decides to conceive, will he be forced to pay child support?

If you are going through a divorce and you are in a similar situation, you may benefit from speaking with an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through this complicated matter.

Source: The Washington Times, “Are unborn children people or property in a divorce, and who decides?” Myra Fleischer, Sep. 19, 2013

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