Planning for Your Frozen Embryo After Your Death

The in-vitro fertilization process inevitably leaves unused embryos that many people like to freeze for future use. Frozen embryos can last as long as a decade. Therefore, when considering what will happen to your estate after your demise, don't forget to take the frozen embryos into consideration. Here are some of the ways you can do this. 

Discard the Embryos

If you are of the opinion that your frozen embryos shouldn't be used by anyone or for anything if you can't use them, then you can arrange for their disposal after your demise. There are many different ways of disposing of frozen embryos, but the one that is likely to work best after your death is to have them defrosted. Of course, this only applies if you have no moral objections to the embryos' destruction.

Donate the Embryos to Other Couples

You can plan things so that your frozen embryos will be donated to other infertile couples after your demise. Some people have a problem with donating embryos because it seems (to them) almost like giving up their children for adoption. If you have the same thoughts and don't want to donate the embryos while you are still alive, you can restrict their donation to after your death. Your estate-planning attorney will tell you what to do in terms of things like paperwork so that the donation can progress smoothly in the event of your death. 

Give Them Up for Medical Research

As discussed above, some people have problems with donating their frozen embryos while still alive. It might be that you don't want the same thing even after your death, such as if you don't like the idea of your biological children growing up in other families. In that case, you can arrange for a medical research organization to take custody of the embryos in case you die before using them all.

You can restrict your donations to researchers who will use your embryos ethically and for the good of humanity. For example, some organizations use frozen embryos for stem-cell research. Stem cells have the ability to differentiate into all types of human cells, and scientists hope that with time, they will be able to use the cells to treat different diseases.

While considering all the above, don't forget about any costs associated with your wishes. For example, you should provide storage payment for the embryos; the storage fees average $350–$1,000 per year, which can add up to considerable money after a decade or so. As you can see, estate planning for frozen embryos can be pretty complicated; engage an attorney, such as one from Moore, O'Connell & Refling PC, to help simplify the process.