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What Happens To Frozen Embryos In A Divorce?

Divorce comes with many emotional and unique issues. Some of those issues are so unique that there are no clear laws in place to determine the outcome.

Such is the case in a matter that has recently reached the Colorado Supreme Court, in which a divorcing husband and wife are in a dispute over the fate of six embryos they conceived through in-vitro fertilization and placed in cryo-storage.

According to an article from the Denver Channel, the husband wants the embryos destroyed, while the wife wants them preserved.

Are Frozen Embryos Property?

The fate of the embryos may depend on whether the court sees them as property or children. The initial district court ruling used a "balance of interest" methodology and found that the husband's desire not to have any more children outweighed the wife's desire to have more children. The appellate court upheld this decision.

An attorney representing the mother argued that the frozen embryos are embryonic children, not marital property to be divided. She stated, "Current science has established that these embryonic children are the result of procreation and are not property."

The appellate court, on the other hand, stated that, according to the Colorado General Assembly, embryos are not considered children. 

Ultimately, there is no law in Colorado that specifically addresses this situation. Is this a property division matter? Or should child custody laws be followed? Whatever the Colorado Supreme Court decides, it will set a precedent for these matters in the future.

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