Who owns your embryos?


EmbryoIf digital assets are the next frontier of estate planning, biological assets are the next next frontier. It is up in the air as to who has rights over your online self after your death; it is equally mystifying who might have rights over physical parts of you.

There have been some cases across the United States with regard to sperm, as well as a number regarding children conceived after death and their inheritance rights. Recently, there was a decision out of China regarding an embryo.

Liu Xi and Shen Jie died in a car accident, shortly after the creation of an embryo to help them with fertility issues. As they were both only children, both sets of grandparents sought ownership of the embryo in order to have grandchildren. Recently, a judge ruled that none of the grandparents could have the embryo, as it is illegal to sell or donate them in China and they are not property. As a result, the embryo will likely be destroyed by the hospital.

If you have genetic material stored anywhere, whether that is an embryo from fertility treatments or sperm or ova stored before cancer treatment, you should consider what you would want done with it after your death.