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Battle Over Embryo Could Set Precedence in California Courts

Stephen Findley and Mimi Lee had their fertilized embryos frozen after Mimi was diagnosed with cancer. The couple then divorced and Mimi now wants to use the embryos to have a child, which Stephen opposes. The couple had signed an agreement/directive with the fertility center at UCSF at the time of fertilization that the embryos would be destroyed if they ever divorced. The trial court judge must now decide if Mimi will be able to keep the embryos and have children (after the cancer treatments left her infertile) or whether the embryos will be destroyed at the request of Stephen. The fertility center at UCSF has taken the position that the Court should hold the directive valid and enforceable, or in other words, permit the facility to destroy the embryos given the parties have divorced. In Court papers, Mimi’s attorneys, wrote,  “This Court must decide whether the law forbids Mimi from using her eggs, which she froze and fertilized for the purpose of preserving her fertility after being diagnosed with cancer, in order to have a child where she is otherwise unable to do so, simply because her ex-husband objects.” Mimi’s lawyers also cited in Court papers, that an order directing the destruction of the embryos would destroy an infertile woman’s ability to “realize the fundamental and constitutionally protected bond of a parent and a child.” The decision will likely set precedence in California Courts.