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Maryland couple continues battle over custody of frozen embryos

We've previously discussed some of the family law questions that have arisen due to modern technology, specifically when it comes to nontraditional forms of conception and pregnancy. Maryland is no stranger to such issues and a Prince George's County divorced couple is currently in the midst of a very complicated dispute over frozen embryos.

The couple is battling in court over the custody of the embryos, which were frozen one year after the two wed. The couple froze 11 embryos, and have used two of them to conceive one child, who is now 3 years old.

The couple reportedly signed a contract prior to having the embryos frozen that stated the embryos would be given to the woman in the case of divorce. The man's attorney argued that the contract was not notarized but a judge ruled that it was valid and granted the woman custody of the embryos--despite giving the man custody of the couple's daughter.

The woman wanted custody of the frozen embryos because she plans to use them to have more children against her ex-husband's wishes. A judge has now issued a stay--or a hold--on the case to give the ex-husband time to appeal.

This case is very complicated and both parties have argued that a decision against them would infringe upon their rights. The man has argued he should have the right to decide not to father a child while the woman has argued that using the embryos is the only way she can have another child.

The future of this case will be very interesting as this is yet another example of an area of family law that is just beginning to be defined in Maryland.

Source: NBC Washington, "Judge Grants Stay in Divorced Couple's Battle Over Embryos," Tracee Wilkins, Jan. 14, 2013

  • Our Montgomery County law firm handles divorce, child custody and other family law cases. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Maryland Family Law website.

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