Frozen Embryos and Divorce: New Legal Developments

Because of advances in technology, millions of people have become parents through in vitro fertilization (IVF). For various reasons both scientific and practical, most IVF cycles result in additional frozen embryos, which become the subject of dispute upon divorce. This area of the law is developing in many states, and this article will summarize a famous California case, the recent developments in federal law that may impact embryo cases, and the latest battle over embryos in Texas. Information about statistics from the following:

Vergara v. Loeb, California case

  • This case involved embryos created by the actress Sofia Vergara and her ex fiancée.
  • After the relationship ended, Vergara wanted to block him from using the embryo.
  • The court sided with Vergara, granting her a request for a permanent injunction preventing Loeb from using the embryos.
  • Takeaways: the written contract governing the use of the embryos was enforced by the court
  • Link to the case can be found here:,45

Supreme Court case, Dobbs, may impact embryo law in the future

  • In 2022, the United States Supreme Court changed the legal landscape for abortion.
  • Previously as per Roe v. Wade, abortion was a Constitutional right.
  • With Dobbs, the Supreme Court reviewed the common law and historical support for abortion, and finding it lacking, held that there is no Constitutional right to abortion.
  • This decision leaves the power in the hands of individual states to determine whether abortion is legal in each state under state law.
  • This case may have an impact on embryo law, as some may argue that there is no Constitutional right not to parent (which has been the reasoning behind some states awarding embryos to the party who does not want to be a parent).
  • The link to Dobbs can be found here:,45

New Developments in a Texas Embryo Case

  • ABC News recently reported that the Supreme Court in Texas has requested briefing on an embryo case. See
  • The briefing request does not mean that the Supreme Court will consider the case, but it is a step in getting review from the state’s highest court.
  • The wife in the case is arguing that the Supreme Court Dobbs decision changed the legal landscape and that her embryos are children.
  • The husband is arguing that the contract the couple executed controls the court’s decision over embryos, which should be defined as property.
  • The link to the case can be found here:,45

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about embryos or any other aspect of family law, contact us today. At the Law Office of David Knecht, we have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, and can help you with divorce, modification, prenuptial agreements, or any other family law issue. Contact us today at 707-451-4502.