“It’s so common that now it’s a routine question that I have to ask: Is there any genetic material that we need to talk about?” said Monica Mazzei, a family lawyer at Sideman & Bancroft who represents high net worth clients in Silicon Valley.
In the event of divorce, she said, “you’re not together anymore, you probably don’t like each other and if one person is going to use the embryo and have the child, that leaves the other person in an awkward spot.”
Several major clinics said that the use of I.V.F. and other fertility treatments had risen during the coronavirus pandemic, with more people reassessing what matters to them.
The New York University Langone Fertility Center, one of the busiest in the United States, saw a 30 percent increase in the number of new patients from June to December last year, compared with the same period in 2019. Another clinic, Seattle Reproductive Medicine, saw a 15 percent increase in the number of new patients last year compared with 2019. The National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tenn., the largest embryo donation clinic in the country, estimates that there are 1 million to 1.3 million frozen embryos in storage, up from about 500,000 to 600,000 a decade ago.
“For New Yorkers, they’re actually sitting still,” said Dr. Brooke Hodes-Wertz, a specialist at N.Y.U. Langone Fertility Center.
I.V.F. requires self-administering daily injections of fertility drugs, called gonadotropins, for eight to 12 days in order to stimulate the ovaries so that they mature numerous eggs. Next, a doctor guides a needle through the vagina to retrieve the eggs while the patient is under anesthesia. The eggs are then fertilized with sperm in the clinic’s laboratory, and one or more embryos are placed back into the womb, or they can be tested for genetic abnormalities and frozen for a future embryo transfer.
I.V.F. can take a physical and emotional toll on patients, but working from home makes it easier. And at the moment, patients can undergo treatment without having to tell colleagues about appointments for blood tests or having to commute to an office, Dr. Hodes-Wertz said.