Reproductive Autonomy: How are Fertilized Embryos Awarded in Divorce
The Appellate Court of Maryland has recently established a multi-factor framework for courts to determine the disposition of cryogenically preserved embryos in a divorce. Tackling this issue for the first time in Maryland, in Jocelyn P. v. Joshua P., the appellate court said:
Neither this Court nor the [Supreme Court of Maryland] has classified the legal status of a frozen pre-embryo. The Maryland General Assembly, likewise, has not addressed the subject directly.
On the one hand, the frozen pre-embryo in this case has certain characteristics consistent with the broad definition of “marital property” under Maryland law.
We must also recognize, however, the parties’ unique and personal interests in the cryopreserved pre-embryo and that Jocelyn believes, as do others, that “the embryo is human and capable of developing into an adult.” Id. at 464–65, 250 A.3d at 390–91.
Maryland courts are cognizant that a cryopreserved embryo deserves special respect in light of its potential for human life.
How an attorney can help: Jocelyn P. v. Joshua P. established new law in Maryland. If you have a question about the disposition of cryogenically preserved embryos in your divorce or separation, contact Debra Cruz or Shannon Boisseau at Levin Gann PA today.