Colorado Supreme Court creates guidelines for frozen embryos

DENVER — A recent ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court creates guidelines on what divorced spouses should do with their frozen embryos if the former couples are unable to come to an agreement.

The ruling issued Monday said courts must attempt to balance the interests of both parents when deciding the fate of such embryos, The Denver Post reported .

The Supreme Court justices said earlier judges had incorrectly factored in extraneous information when making their decisions, according to the ruling.

The justices outlined a series of factors that must be considered in such cases and listed conditions that can’t be part of a judge’s decision.

Judges must consider how both people would use the embryos, whether a person can have children without the embryos and any financial or emotional hardships the person who does not want to be a parent would endure. Courts cannot consider if the person who wants to bring the embryos to term can afford to raise a child, how many children that parent already has or whether that person could adopt or raise non-biological children, the ruling said.

The court said it did not consider the embryos as humans while making its decision.

Three justices, including Chief Justice Nathan Coats, did not agree with the majority opinion and said that a court should never force a person to become a parent. Instead, the dissenting justices wrote that both donors must agree to destroy or use the eggs. If no decision can be made, the eggs will remain frozen in storage.

“The decision to have children is one of the most consequential choices people make in life,” Justice William Hood wrote in the dissenting opinion. “The considerations that go into it are numerous and personal; it is not a decision that most would leave to their dearest friends, let alone the state.”

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