Reproductive Technologies Raise Sticky Family Law Issues

Science has paved the way to parenthood for many couples who otherwise never would have had the experience. Fertility issues can be devastating, and the medical procedures that allow people who otherwise could not have families to do so can be life changing. The decision to use these technologies is deeply personal, complicated, and depends in large part on a couple’s circumstances.

Unfortunately not all couples who start down the fertility treatment road wind up staying together. After or during a divorce serious questions can arise for these couples if embryos have been created during their medical treatment and the couple does not agree as to what should be done with those embryos.

What Happens to a Former Couple’s Embryos in Illinois?

After a couple divorces or otherwise splits up, serious questions may come up regarding what will be done with the couple’s embryos. What will happen to the embryos depends in large part on the potential parents’ circumstances. For example, an Illinois court has held that a woman who had embryos frozen before undergoing cancer treatment that rendered her permanently infertile should be able to use the embryos she created with her then-boyfriend despite his objections. The court’s decision in this case relied in part on the fact that the embryos represented that woman’s only chance to have biological children.

In that case, the potential mother of the potential children says she will not seek any support from the potential father. However, if the potential mother actually gave birth to a child using these embryos, and she later fell on financial hard times and had to use public assistance, it is entirely possible that the state of Illinois could force the issue of child support from the unwilling father.

It remains to be seen what will be done in Illinois in cases where embryos have been created but they do not represent the only reproductive chance of the party who wants to use them. One way that couples can prevent these sorts of disputes from happening is by entering into clear legal contracts before creating embryos that deal with what will happen if the couple should break up or divorce.

Call Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C.

If you are involved in a custody battle, be it over embryos or born children, you are going to need the help of an experienced family law attorney. You should call the DuPage County family law attorneys at Sullivan Taylor, Gumina & Palmer, P.C. When you call us at (630) 756-5112 we will schedule an appointment to discuss the details of your situation and determine how we can best be of help to you given your goals and priorities. Cases involving embryos can lead to long term legal issues involving child support and parental rights, so it is important to get legal help as soon in the process as possible.