What Happens to Embryos on Separation?

  • April 14, 2023
  • Emma Katz and Kate Deveau

In 1978, the first in-vitro fertilization (IVF) baby was born. Since that time, IVF rates in Canada and around the world have skyrocketed. People and families are increasingly turning to assisted reproductive technologies to assist them in achieving pregnancy. The advent of these technologies has been revolutionary for people and families facing infertility issues, and for single people and queer families who would otherwise struggle to have children on their own.

With advances in technology and research, a fast-growing market in reproductive medicine is egg and embryo freezing.  One reason, among many, for freezing eggs and embryos, is that many women are delaying having children in favour of launching or growing their careers. Fertility clinics have been known to advertise that freezing your eggs will provide an “insurance plan” for a pregnancy down the road. While not guaranteed, there is no question that this option has provided some relief to women who do not want to have to choose between their careers and having children. 

The use of frozen embryos is an issue that has become more commonplace for separating spouses, and for family lawyers.