In Georgia, as well as around the world, conceiving a child with the use of assisted reproductive technologies can bring up and/or complicate custody issues in a divorce or other family law case.With the ongoing developments in medicine and the reproductive sciences, more couples turn to assisted reproductive technologies to conceive children. Medical and technical advances are providing new ways to become parents which have never been imagined by previous generations. As people turn to options like intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, or freezing sperm,eggs, or embryos for future use, a host of legal questions arise as to ownership, possession and control. For example, does frozen sperm remain the property of the Father or, because it has been frozen and has an intended purpose, is the sperm transformed into property of the Father and Mother?
It is very important to have a written and detailed agreement documenting each party’s intentions prior to entering into any third-party assisted reproduction arrangement. While a couple may enter the process with intentions to stay married or to raise their children together, it is hard to predict whether a couple may separate or be divorced in the future. An agreement should contemplate what would occur in the event the couple separates or gets a divorce. Will someone keep the frozen embryos? Who will be responsible for the costs associated with storing the embryos until future use? For how long will they be stored?
This is just the beginning when it comes to the questions and scenarios that parties must consider prior to entering a third-party assisted reproduction arrangement. If you are considering assisted reproductive technologies or have already used assisted reproductive technologies and are now contemplating a divorce, please contact one of our AtlantaDivorce Attorneys.
By Emily Yu, Associate Attorney, Meriwether & Tharp LLC