Connecticut High Court Decides Frozen Embryos are Marital Property, Can Be Destroyed

by admin on November 5, 2019

Image result for IVF

Connecticut’s Supreme Court ruled recently that frozen embryos created by a divorcing couple are marital property and can be destroyed–despite the husband’s objections.

The court essentially decided that the couple’s prior agreement that the embryos should be destroyed if they ever divorced was an enforceable contract.

The husband, Timothy R. Goodwin, told the state’s high court that he had changed his mind and wanted the frozen embryos preserved should he and his ex-wife get back together in the future.

In the event that they never remarried, he wanted the embryos donated to another couple who couldn’t naturally bear children.

A lower court had previously ruled that the contract agreed upon by the two was not enforceable, but subsequently gave custody of the frozen embryos to Goodwin’s ex-wife, Jessica Bilbao.

In a unanimous opinion by the Supreme Court, the lower court’s decision was reversed.

The reasoning given by the court states that the agreement by the couple, which was made in writing at the embryo clinic, was binding.

The 2015 Surrogacy Law made IVF, egg donation, and surrogacy in Thailand much more heavily regulated procedures that require specific government approval.

The Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in the case essentially ignored the question of what would happen to frozen embryos in a situation where an agreement had not been made.

The judges did, however, refer to the embryos as “pre-embryos”, insisting that it is the “medically accurate term for a zygote or fertilized egg that has not been implanted in a uterus”.

The ruling sets a precedent that frozen embryos are “marital property” and can be disposed of by the awarded party in a divorce.

Goodwin petitioned the court that the embryos are not property, and that they are “human beings”.

“Whether a pre-embryo is a human being is, at least in part, a question of fact,” the Supreme Court said.

Read the full story here.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: