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Divorced couple disagrees over use of frozen embryos

The legal application of the law often changes according to the time in which it is applied. Shifts in legislation, public opinion, societal norms and even technology may call legal issues (even those concerning family matters) into question. This often leaves court officials in local courts relying on the interpretation of legislators to establish legal precedents. In the absence of such statutes or interpretations, courts are forced to set such precedents on their own. 

Such has occurred in a recent case in Arizona involving a legal battle over seven frozen embryos. Local courts were left to rule on a case where a divorced couple disagreed on the right to use the embryos. The woman (who had the eggs fertilized with the man's sperm frozen prior to undergoing cancer treatment) wants to retain the right to use them in the future. She claims that such an option is her only realistic opportunity to have a biological child. The man, on the other hand, does not want them used, citing concerns about how having biological children (even those with whom he might not have a relationship) might affect any inheritance he may receive in the future. He also did not want to have any financial obligations to support the child. Even though the woman claims she would not expect financial support him, state law would require it were she to apply for state benefits in the future. 

While other states have laws detailing how these scenarios should be dealt with, Arizona does not. Thus, the judge determined that the man's desire not to be compelled to be a parent overruled the woman's to have a biological child. Those involved in complex cases such as this may be wise to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced attorney. 

Source: "Cancer survivor battling ex-husband ordered to donate embryos" Alltucker, Ken, Sept. 01, 2017

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