When you're freezing embryos it is essential to have a specialist assisted reproductive technology (ART) lawyer, sometimes known as a fertility lawyer, draw up a contract.
In this cautionary real life tale, Kristen B. Montez from the Global Healthcare Law Group in San Diego, California, explains why:
As Kristen tells us, she had a client who created embryos with her boyfriend at the time. When the client and her boyfriend broke up, the client (in her early forties and unable to produce more eggs) wanted to use the embryos to try to conceive by herself - they were left in legal limbo.
The former couple had actually signed a contract about the embryos, but, according to Kristen, that contract contained a lot of ambiguities and did not specifically say that if they broke up that the former boyfriend would relinquish parental rights to the embryos.
Because the contract was written by a non-specialist lawyer (rather than a fertility lawyer), the former couple ended up spending over a year in court and still not reaching any conclusion.
The embryos can not be used, but nor can they be destroyed.
According to Kristen, using a specialist ART lawyer to draw up an embryo freezing contract is an essential step to making sure your genetic "asset" is legally protected, and to avoid potential heartache in the future.
Kristen B. Montez
Kristen is the founding attorney at The Global Healthcare Law Group, providing legal and strategic counsel on assisted reproductive treatments.