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What to Do With The Frozen Embryos?: A Primer On Embryo Disposition

(2k+ reviews)

Produced on January 28, 2019

$ 59 Family & Matrimonial, Health Care, and Science & Technology In Stock
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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Beginner

Course Description

Since 1987, more than one million babies have been born in the U.S. using assisted reproductive technologies - mainly, in vitro fertilization (IVF). Most of these patients chose to cryopreserve excess embryos to attempt a pregnancy at a later time. In 2017, this practice noted storage facilities holding more than 600,000 frozen embryos and, reportedly, 70% of these patients waiting up to five years before finally deciding what to do with their embryos. As family building with IVF and cryopreservation becomes more prevalent for all types of modern families, surrounding legal and ethical issues have gained increasing visibility. While patients typically pre-determine embryo disposition in informed consent documents, one of the most common disputes involves “who gets the embryos” to use or dispose of, when the embryo creators (the patients) separate or divorce. With a time-delay from pre-determination to disputes, and very little statutory regulation or binding case law, most courts confronting the issue have had to develop frameworks for resolution that draw on contract law, public policy norms, and constitutional law, along with other factors and considerations.

This course aims to clarify the current legal and ethical guidelines that help shape embryo disposition decisions, as well as cultivate critical thinking skills to assist attorneys in guiding clients through potential disputes in an area of evolving law.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Review assisted reproductive technologies and embryo cryopreservation, including embryo disposition options through the informed consent process
  2. Identify current caselaw and the evolving legal framework in resolving embryo disputes
  3. Appreciate the impact of social and ethical considerations on embryo dispute decisions
  4. Discuss the role of informed consent v. contract in determining embryo ownership
  5. Recognize evolving statutory advances that impact embryo disposition

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Stephanie Caballero

The Surrogacy Law Center

As the founder and principal of The Surrogacy Law Center, PLC, Stephanie has represented thousands of clients from all over the world, including intended parents, surrogates and egg, sperm and embryo donors. Stephanie’s expertise in family formation and reproductive law has made her a sought-after expert who has appeared on various television and radio programs as well as in print media including The Today ShowABC NewsHuffPost LiveThe Daily BeastThe Bakersfield CalifornianWashington Examinerthe Creating a Family radio programNPR, Fox News, The Los Angeles TimesThe Union Tribune and the L.A. Daily Journal (and again on March 23rd, 2015). In 2017 Stephanie established The Estate Planning & Legacy Law Center, PLC, a full-service estate planning law firm, further highlighting her commitment to serving families and ensuring their peace of mind.

Stephanie is a Fellow of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys, serving on its Ethics Code Review Committee, and is a member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, serving on the Executive Board of its Legal Professional Group. She is also a member of the American Bar Association and the San Diego Bar Association and serves on the boards of Fertile Action and Parents Via Egg Donation.

Lisa Rinehart

LegalCare Consulting, Inc

Lisa A. Rinehart has been involved in reproductive medicine in the Chicago area for the past twenty-five years. First as a nurse (where she brought years of experience in ICU nursing and hospital administration), and, currently, as a health care attorney and medical practice consultant, focusing on risk management, compliance and employee law, practice operations, new practice start-ups, mergers and physician contracting. Lisa received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois; and, completed a law degree from DePaul University College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, with honors, and a certificate in Health Law. She worked for several years as a corporate health care attorney, before returning to the medical field as a fertility practice manager and consultant, as well as teaching as an adjunct instructor of Health Law and Healthcare Administration at several Chicago-area universities.

Lisa is an honorary American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology (AAARTA) member, the Executive Director of the Kevin J. Lederer LIFE Foundation (a non-profit organization that provides treatment grants for fertility treatment) and has been a very active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine for over 20 years, serving as chair of the reproductive managers professional group, the legal professional group, and the membership committee. She currently participates in the SART consent committee, helping to review and revise ASRM template consent forms, and is a frequent speaker on all aspects of reproductive law, risk management, practice operations, and employment law.


Nathalie R.

Thank you.

Gal G.

Great class.

Diane C.

Very interesting discussion, especially the last question regarding the child's rights even if the parent is not responsible for supporting the child.

Tracie K.

This was a great seminar. I found it very interesting.

Karen L.

Very disturbing content

Michael D.

Knowledgeable panel who would be ideal for a referral on this area that is more complex and rapidly evolving than expected.

Asma A.

Great topic and presentation!

Amanda S.


Elizabeth B.

Really interesting topic, well-presented.

Henry G.

Excellent course, great speakers, with substantive case law.

Alden G.

Very very interesting

Alison F.

This is outside my field of practice, but I was interested in the topic. Good overview.

Julianne C.

interesting topic.

Deborah R.

Very interesting topic. Great presentation.


Very good course

Karen E.

Incredibly fascinating and enjoyable topic and presentation. Slides were very clear and helpful. Very current and important area of law.

John K.

Fascinating stuff about which I knew absolutely nothing - I'm a never married bachelor with no children at all. I did not realize that this stuff was so recent (since 1978) and that there were so many children from IVF treatments around. It has occurred to me that this blows the Rule against Perpetuities to smithereens. The question at the end was one of the best questions I've ever heard.

Frank M.

Thorough. Cogently and professionally presented.

Sadie S.

Such an interesting topic !

Julie A. B.

Presenters highlighted the legal and ethical guidelines shaping embryo disposition decisions and reviewed critical thinking skills that assist attorneys navigating clients through potential disputes in this evolving area.

Rebecca R.

Very interesting lecture.

Mark R.

Fascinating subject. Excellent presentation with lots of great case law analysis. I liked this seminar a lot, especially the coverage across many different states including California.

Hilda E.

good overview of the topic

Kyle W.

Very interesting

Mark C.


Thomas G.

very good


Very enlightening.

Arthur E.

Great course; ripe for a scholarly paper.

John A.

Good to have cutting-edge issues well laid out.

irina a.

it was very interesting to learn about this niche area of practice. thank you to the experts!

Jenell R.

Really good topic and discussion.

Jeanette R.

Excellent presentation! I know of no one who could honestly say after listening to this - I wish I were a frozen embryo. I find all the terminology our society has created around this industry objectifying - gamete donors, progenitors, gestational carriers, embryo disposition. I wonder if the exact number of embryos in the United States is known by someone and the number is not being published, and tugging at my soul is the question - why would the nature of man be created for the purpose of dying? I think my future interest lies less in this presentation, and more in the existential and societal question - what and who is man? If that question is ever answered, I think it could possibly help guide this industry.

Christopher B.

A very timely seminar with current information. This is not a subject area in which I practice but I still found it very informative.

Mark K.

I have a friend dealing with these sensitive issues. So I was intrigued. Presenters were excellent.

Andrew P.

Nice overview!

Suzanne V.


Chris S.

this is a fantastic class - I really learned a lot - wish I had taken it before I had to help a client with this issue.

Rachel C.

Fascinating! Excellent presenters and a really great discussion format!

Kristine Anne R.

The audio quality is very good.

Mariel L.

Very interesting course. Highly recommended

Brenda H. S.


Michael N.


Melissa P.

Very interesting

Yoshisuke Y.

This was a good course. The topic was very up to date.

Stephen W.

Fascinating and very helpful course.

michael J.

very thought provoking

Heidi M.

Well done.

Cari R.

Great program

Elizabeth K.

Very interesting and I appreciate how new this course is.

Christine R.

Very interesting topic, and quite timely.

Erin S.

Great content! Thank you!

Robin N.

Loved them! this course was so informative and i liked that it hit on many state-specific cases/issues. Great instructors!

Theresa H.

Great information

Brenda S.

Enjoyed the program very much; very informative

Jonathan C.

Fascinating topic. Really like how there was a number of case examples provided.

Vicki B.

Excellent course all around: knowledgeable faculty, interesting topic, and detailed written materials. Thank you!

Michael D.

valuable information that was new to me. thank you.

Daniel D. B.

very good

howard b.

very informative

Yaa H.

Excellent presentation on cutting edge developments in today’s society.

Donnellda R.

Knowledgeable speakers with good presentation skills

Steven K.

Excellent content and well presented

Michele L.

Very interesting!

Hilary J.

Very informative.

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