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Woman's eggs may become commodity in alimony payments

Medical science has changed the way people live in Illinois and around the world. Advances are now beginning to affect alimony payments in Illinois and elsewhere. Value has now been placed on a woman's eggs. This case involves a 38-year-old woman from New Jersey who has requested that the courts require her former husband to cover a $20,000 fee for egg-freezing, medication and several years of egg storage. When they married, the woman expected that they would have children. Because of her age, she may not have had much more time to conceive.

Fertility windows vary from woman to woman, and the so-called "baby deadline" can be difficult to determine, whereas men can continue to father children indefinitely. Science has now advanced to a point where women can have their eggs frozen until they are ready to reproduce, thus allowing them to view their fertility differently. In the case of the woman seeking to preserve her eggs, she and her attorney are arguing that in vitro fertilization was part of the marriage, so costs associated with it should be part of the divorce settlement.


Although it is difficult to determine a woman's baby-making deadline, it is possible to calculate how much it will take to preserve the eggs and go through fertility procedures. With a number of prominent fertility clinics in the Chicago area, such a scenario could become commonplace. Egg preservation then becomes a commodity in a divorce along with houses and other property.

The complexity of this issue is heightened because no state laws exist to cover it yet. Illinois divorce attorneys may be able to give clients advice on how best to proceed on preserving eggs for future use.

Source: New York Times, "Alimony for Your Eggs", Sarah Elizabeth Richards, September 06, 2013

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