In November, a judge in San Francisco has ruled that the frozen embryos
a woman wanted to use in spite of her ex-husband’s objections must
The couple signed a consent form after their marriage in 2010 stating that
the fertility clinic would destroy the embryos if they decided to divorce.
The judge upheld this form in her decision despite protest from the woman,
46-year-old musician and anesthesiologist Dr. Mimi C. Lee, who claimed
that the embryos were her only chance to have a child due to her age and
previous battle with cancer. She claims that she thought the form was
similar to a medical directive toward which she could later be allowed
to change her mind, but the court did not agree with this argument, citing
Lee’s profession, education, and intelligence as reasons why the
alleged misunderstanding was not credible.
After enduring a hostile divorce, Lee’s husband did not want to tie
himself to his ex-wife for life by having a child with her, especially
after Lee indicated that she would consider using the children against
him in the future. The court agreed that the husband’s concerns
in this regard were well founded.
There have been at least a dozen other similar lawsuits across the country
dealing with embryo disputes, and so far not one high court has decided
to award an embryo to someone over the objection of their ex-spouse. According
to judge Anne-Christine Massullo, “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.” Disturbing though it may be to many,
more cases like Lee’s are expected to crop up in future divorce
cases as IVF technology continues to advance.
Read more about this story via the Los Angeles Times by
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