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Putting a price tag on fertility in divorce cases

Divorce, in a lot of aspects, is about numbers. For the couple involved, it may feel a lot more personal and emotional, but for San Diego courts, factors like alimony, child support and property division come down to need and numbers. While a court can calculate the appropriate amount of child support to be paid, as well as the value of assets to be split, a lawyer from another state thinks it’s possible to put a price tag on fertility.

The lawyer is representing a woman who never had the chance to have a child before her marriage ended. Although the couple tried in vitro fertilization several times, it ultimately failed. Now, the 38-year-old woman is trying to use divorce law to protect her chances of becoming a mother. The woman is asking her ex for alimony for her eggs. The price tag is $20,000, which would cover the cost of freezing and storing her eggs, as well as related medications.

This case begs the question of whether a man should pay his ex-wife to preserve her fertility if the two aren’t able to have a child during marriage. After all, it’s the woman who is at a disadvantage in this scenario, considering her ticking biological clock. Of course, making this judgment is far from easy, as every couple has different reasons for not having children during marriage.

While this issue would be best discussed during a prenuptial agreement, it will be interesting to see the outcome of this case and whether courts agree that women can put a price tag on their fertility.

Source: New York Times, “Alimony for Your Eggs,” Sarah Elizabeth Richards, Sept. 6, 2013

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