Frozen Embryos - by Dale E. Johnson

As a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, I am always pleased when the Colorado Supreme Court asks us to file an Amicus Brief on a pending case.  We have been asked to file a Brief in the pending In Re Marriage of Rooks case, which deals with the Court’s authority to determine the disposition of frozen embryos.  In Rooks, the contract signed by the parties with the reproduction center, did not include agreement as to what would happen to the embryos if the parties divorced.  As part of the divorce, mother wanted the embryos awarded to here, whereas father wanted them destroyed.  The trial court weighed various facts and ordered them destroyed.  Should a court ever have authority to order otherwise where the contract is silent on the issue?  Should Colorado reproductive centers be required to include provisions regarding what would happen to frozen embryos if the parties divorced?  The Supreme Court’s decision should come later this year.