New law outlines who gets embryos after divorce

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A new Arizona law will change how divorcing couples handle their frozen embryos. In the past, rulings regarding their use after divorce have varied, leaving couples without any meaningful precedents to follow. Now, parents who wish to have children using their embryos will be able to keep them regardless of their soon-to-be ex’s wishes.

The law went into effect on July 1, 2018, and states that whichever parent intends to use the embryos to have children may keep them in a divorce. If their ex is opposed to becoming a parent, then he or she will have no legal obligations or parental responsibilities and will not have to pay any type of child support. Opponents of this new law argue that although there is no legal responsibility, it would still force the other person into becoming a parent against his or her wishes.

However, one Arizona woman believes the new law could help others like herself. She received a breast cancer diagnosis in 2014 and shortly afterward created seven embryos with her fiance at the time. They married but were already in the middle of a divorce when a doctor gave her the all-clear to get pregnant. By then, her husband did not want children anymore, and a judge ultimately ruled that she could not use her own embryos.

Many Arizona couples create and freeze embryos for any number of reasons. The thought of having to destroy or never use them may leave some people understandably worried. This new law aims to make it easier for those who want to use their embryos after divorce to do so, while also respecting the other person’s wishes to not have any legal parental responsibilities.