The Modern Legal Status of Frozen Embryos

Alyssa Yoshida

Volume 68, Issue 3, 711-730

With the help of modern technology, people today have more flexibility than ever before in the realm of family planning and conceiving children. An increasing amount of
couples are opting to go through in vitro fertilization to create and then freeze embryos for use at a later date. However, problems arise when these people no longer want to have children together.

Our courts are still grappling with the issue of what happens to these embryos in the event of separation, and various theories of the legal status of an embryo have emerged in response, to try to shed light on the complex arguments for each side. This Note argues that the unique class occupied by the frozen embryothat of not quite person and not quite propertyshould be embraced. This Note further proposes a new statutory scheme that would provide courts with a straightforward framework to guide their analysis in separation or divorce proceedings.

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