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Melissa A. Featherston

Parental rights and frozen embryos: legal battle continues

A Missouri couple's battle over the fate of their frozen embryos has made it's way to the state's Appeals Court. The couple, divorced, is battling over whether the mother has the right to implant two embryos that they had frozen nine years ago. This contentious case is an interesting look at parental rights and how embryonic science could impact custody and support cases. 

The embryos were created using the sperm of the husband, but the couple divorced in 2010. At that time, the embryos apparently were handed over to the wife, a decision which the husband fought hard against. Five years later, a judge ruled that the embryos were a type of marital property, determining that the divorced couple should have joint custody of them. This meant that neither parent could do anything with the embryos unless the other agreed. 

The mom is fighting for what she claims is her right to have those embryos implanted. Her husband is fighting for what he believes is his right to not reproduce. The mother already has twins with the father, also conceived by IVF at the same time the embryos in question were created and frozen.

If the Missouri mother wins her case and the IVF process is successful, that father could possibly be responsible for child support and other obligations. There has not been a ruling on this case, but it serves as a reminder that those who believe that their parental rights are under attack have the right to take legal action. Cases involving children are frequently complex and should be handled with the help of an experienced attorney.

Source: cnsnews.com, "Missouri State Appeals Court to Decide Fate of Divorced Couple's Frozen Embryos", Rachel Hoover, June 3, 2016

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