A San Francisco judge ruled last month that effectively ordered a divorced couple to thaw and discard any remaining embryos currently frozen in their IVF clinic’s office.
San Francisco judge ruled Wednesday that frozen embryos a woman wants to use over her ex-husband’s objections must be “thawed and discarded.”
Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, in an 83-page decision, upheld a consent form the couple signed shortly after their marriage in 2010. The couple agreed on the form provided by the fertility clinic that the embryos should be destroyed if they divorced.
“It is a disturbing consequence of modern biological technology that the fate of nascent human life, which the embryos in this case represent, must be determined in a court by reference to cold legal principles,” Massullo wrote.
In addition, despite the woman’s objections the judge determined the following:
In about a dozen other embryo disputes around the country, not one high court has decided to award an embryo to someone over the ex-partner’s objection. No appellate court in California has decided the issues posed in the Lee-Findley case, but Massullo (judge) said her ruling was consistent with how other courts in the nation have viewed such cases.
Binding agreements minimize the need for court resolution of what many believe is one of the most personal decisions an individual makes: when and under what circumstances to bring a child into the world.
A spokeswoman for Lee said she was disappointed and considering her options. She had indicated previously that she would appeal if she lost.