A married couple who is having trouble conceiving a child naturally may choose to freeze a number of embryos for future use. However, the question of what should be done with them if the couple divorces is a legally complex one. Even if a couple has a contract spelling out who owns the embryos, it may not help decide a given case.
For example, a Massachusetts court ruled that a man could not be forced to become a parent. Therefore, despite signed contracts that gave his wife ownership of those embryos, she would not legally be able to use them. In many other cases, courts have sided with those who do not want to reproduce through artificial means after a divorce. Another legal issue is whether or not an embryo is considered to be a child or another piece of property.