Estate Planning for Egg Freezing

posted by Brigitte Adams May 17, 2012

 Carole M. Bass, Partner at Moses & Singer LLP Trusts & Estates practice, has kindly authored this guest blog for Eggsurance on the important topic of estate planning for frozen eggs.

It’s been a big month for egg freezing.  One day after reading the front page story in the New York Times  telling how would-be grandparents are footing the bill for their daughters to freeze and store their eggs I found myself on line in the store face to face with the cover of Life & Style magazine announcing yet another Jennifer Aniston pregnancy rumor — this one being that the actress has conceived using her frozen eggs.

The decision to freeze your eggs is a serious one.  If you have done it, or if you are thinking about it, then you are someone who plans for the future.  A lot of thought has probably gone into making the decision to freeze your eggs.  But have you thought of what will happen to those eggs and to any resulting children in the event of your death?

It is likely that your clinic forms do not adequately address the myriad of estate planning issues raised by egg freezing (and other procedures relating to assisted reproductive technology).  Make sure that your will and other estate planning documents coordinate with the agreements you sign with the clinic.

What are some of the issues you should discuss with your estate planning attorney if you have frozen eggs?

  • What if something happened to you?  Would you want someone else (such as your parents or your significant other) to use your eggs – or to have that option?
  • If your eggs were used to conceive a child after your death would you want that child to inherit from your estate?
  • Would you want your assets to be used for continued storage of your eggs or for their use by a family member?

These are personal questions.  You will answer them differently than someone else and you might answer them differently at different points in your life.  Perhaps you have children and have frozen eggs to preserve against secondary infertility.  Perhaps you are in a second marriage with step-children.  Maybe at some point you will have frozen embryos.

The best step toward insuring that your wishes are carried out at your death is properly documenting those wishes.  Because this is an emerging area of law questions regarding the ability to bequeath genetic material (such as frozen eggs) by will and the enforceability of clinic agreements providing for the disposition of such genetic material at death remain unsettled.  In the absence of a clear expression of your wishes, questions as to the disposition and use of your frozen eggs after your death may be left to a court to decide with little information to guide it.

Carole M. Bass, Esq. is a Partner at Moses & Singer LLP. She concentrates her practice on estate planning, administration and litigation and enjoys helping individuals who are using assisted reproductive technology with their specialized estate planning needs. She can be reached by email at [email protected] 

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