What to do with Frozen Embryos???
Updated: May 7
After going through rounds of IVF just to create them, or going through a donation process to make or obtain them, no one wants to think about any of those precious embryos sitting around frozen, all dressed up with no place to go. But if you're lucky enough to have remaining frozen embryos, think about that we must.
As a recent article in The New York Times points out, what to do with remaining frozen embryos after family planning concludes, or who (if anyone) gets them if a couple splits up, is a hot topic and can lead to fiery disputes if people haven’t planned in advance.
There are several options available under New York law, which include:
the creators (or owners of procured embryos) using them to expand or form their family together
donating to a specific person or embryo donation agency/bank for use
donating for scientific research
discarding (a.k.a. letting them thaw and thereby be destroyed)
planning with your doctor to transfer to the uterus of one of the creators/owners when it is highly unlikely a pregnancy will result (a.k.a. compassionate transfer)
keeping frozen indefinitely (while you pay annual storage fees)
or now in New York... planning in advance to allow for one creator/owner to use on their own should the couple divorce, while the partner not planning to use them divests themselves legally of any rights or responsibilities as to the embryos/children.
There's no easy answer and no one size fits all approach. It's a highly personal decision and can take a bit of time and some back and forth to decide how you choose to approach this sensitive topic. But anything can happen in our futures and preparation can go a long way. Do your future self a favor and consider working with an attorney to execute an embryo disposition agreement, embryo donation agreement, or even a consent to posthumous reproduction if you choose. Plan ahead, so you can decide what’s right for you both, your intentions can be made clear, and you can ensure that once your decision is made, all the proper legal requirements to effectuate that plan are met. Agency consent forms can't always accurately reflect a person's changed position over time, and often won't legally suffice, depending upon the wishes you want carried out.
Avoid disputes with a little advanced planning. Contact our office to discuss your options and how to execute the right legal document for you.
Contact the Law Office of Jennifer P. Maas, PLLC to discuss your options with a New York licensed family formation attorney.
**This is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to be construed as legal advice. Every situation is unique and the laws of every state differ. Contact our office should you wish to discuss the specifics of your situation and to hire our firm to represent you.