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Frozen Pre-Embryos Awarded to Wife in Pennsylvania Court Case

By Sheryl Rentz on April 27, 2012

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently awarded frozen pre-embryos, created from the former husband’s sperm and the wife’s eggs, to the woman in a very interesting legal case. In order for the woman in this case to preserve her ability to have a child after being diagnosed with breast cancer, she was advised to undergo IVF (in vitro fertilization). Following the fertilization, the pre-embryos were then cryopreserved. The husband and wife later separated, and the husband then biologically conceived a child with another woman.

The woman in this case is now 44 years old and has no children, and was led to believe she cannot conceive a child naturally.

Both parties agreed that the pre-embryos were marital property and, as such, were subject to equitable distribution. As neither party in this case signed the part of the consent form which related to the disposition of the pre-embryos in the event of death of one party or divorce, the trial court found that the wife’s inability to conceive a child biologically without the use of the embryos outweighed the husband’s desire to avoid procreation. The balancing test, which is used to decide between the competing interests represented in a case, was utilized in the court case.

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania ultimately affirmed the order of the trial court awarding the pre-embryos to the wife.

At the law firm of Sheryl R. Rentz, our Montgomery County family law attorneys understand the complexities of family law issues and aim to handle these types of cases with compassion, discretion, and efficiency. For assistance with any of your family law needs, from divorce to child custody, please schedule a free consultation with our legal team by calling (610) 645-0100.

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