Are Embryos property or life
In Texas, the status of frozen embryos has traditionally been property, and their use and disposition have primarily been guided by agreements made with the fertility clinic. These contractual agreements have played a significant role in determining the fate of the embryos, especially in cases of divorce or separation. But the recent overruling of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court has opened the doors to a myriad of questions, particularly on how the status of these frozen embryos might be affected in a state where abortion is now completely outlawed.
Before The Roe Reversal
Before the historic Roe decision reversal, Texas courts generally adhered to the embryo agreement between the couple if it was a valid contract outlining the embryo’s fate in scenarios such as divorce or separation. This agreement was usually considered legally binding. Hence, referencing the contract usually resolved any disputes.
In scenarios where such an agreement was absent, ambiguous, or unclear, the court would assess various factors to determine who should retain custody of the embryos. The factors examined often included the intentions and interests of the parties involved, their capacity to care for the embryos, their emotional bond with the embryos, and potential harm or benefits that might arise to them.
Historically, Texas courts have demonstrated a propensity to side with the party interested in preserving the embryos for future use rather than the party advocating for their destruction. This inclination is primarily rooted in understanding the potential life these embryos hold and the state’s general favor toward preserving life.
However, the legal landscape is in flux following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Now that Texas has completely banned abortions, the implications for the status of frozen embryos are yet to be clearly defined. The landmark decision prompts us to question whether the long-standing treatment of frozen embryos as property might undergo a significant transformation.
Texas Law Has To Catch Up
Could the legal status of frozen embryos shift from being seen as property to potential human life? Will they be subjected to the same or similar legal protections as a fetus in utero? Or will they remain under the purview of property law and continue to be governed by contractual agreements?
Texas law has yet to delineate the answers to these questions. However, this could significantly change how we view, use, and regulate frozen embryos. This shift could also potentially influence various aspects of reproductive rights, fertility treatments, and how disputes over frozen embryos are resolved.
Staying informed and prepared for possible changes is crucial in this evolving legal landscape. As we await further legal clarification on this matter, we highly recommend couples considering or currently using assisted reproductive technologies consult with legal professionals knowledgeable in this area.
We continue to follow these developments closely. Our team will provide the most accurate and up-to-date advice to help navigate these complex issues. If you have questions about your rights and obligations regarding frozen embryos, please contact our firm for guidance and support.