Virginia couples who are facing a divorce may have an added hurdle if they have been participating in in vitro fertilization treatments. There might be a question of what to do with any frozen embryos, and there is not an extensive body of divorce law on this topic as there is with child custody.
In general, couples sign an agreement that gives them a choice of donating the embryos, destroying them or keeping them frozen. In a divorce, these cases may wind up in litigation for years, and in the meantime, people should make sure that they are still making regular payments or they could come to the end of a long court case only to learn that the embryos were destroyed if payments lapsed.
Courts generally take the position that people should not be forced to become parents against their will. However, if the destruction of the embryos means that one person might never be able to become a parent, this may be taken into consideration. It is also possible that the agreement made with the IVF facility might not hold up in court.
Child custody, visitation and what might become of frozen embryos are among the most emotionally painful issues that may arise during a divorce. Individuals who are facing the end of their marriage and who are in this position might want to discuss their end goals with an attorney who may be able to assist them in making the right decision despite those overwhelming emotions. People should avoid making decisions because of anger or regret.