Heymann & Fletcher

IVF should prompt a visit to a child custody attorney

When a couple is unable to conceive a child, they are often incredibly saddened and burdened by stress. The desire to add a child to one's family can run very deep, and many New Jersey couples will go to great lengths to accomplish that goal. For some, that means attempting in-vitro fertilization, also known as IVF. This can be a great help to many couples, but those who pursue this form of procreation should begin with a visit to an attorney well versed in child custody matters.

IVF makes use of the genetic material of both parents (or a combination involving donor material) to create embryos. Those embryos are sometimes placed immediately into the mother's womb or that of a surrogate. In some cases, however, the couple will elect to have the embryos frozen for use at a later time. That process effectively suspends the process of bringing a child into the world, which creates a unique set of legal consequences.

Prospective parents who decide to end their relationship before their embryos are put to use often have difficulty reaching an agreement on what should be done with the embryos. That can lead to lengthy and expensive litigation, with no guarantee of how the court will ultimately rule. A far better approach is to create a legally binding agreement that addresses the matter from the earliest stages of the IVF process.

A child custody attorney can help New Jersey couples create a clear agreement that is fair to both parties. Having such an agreement in place is akin to a prenuptial agreement; it is a document that both parties hope will never be called into play. However, in the event that a dispute does arise, having that additional protection can make the entire experience easier to manage.

Source: The Huffington Post, "In The Event Of A Divorce, Who Keeps The Embryos Created From IVF?", Vikki Ziegler, Feb. 8, 2017

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