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Illinois Supreme Court to decide fate of frozen embryos

A case being considered by the Illinois Supreme Court over three frozen embryos could have repercussions far beyond what the battling parties originally envisioned. At stake in this precedent-setting custody case is the genetic material of an unmarried couple who agreed in 2010 to undergo fertility treatments when the woman discovered she had non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that the treatment would effectively end her fertility. Shortly after the genetic material was extracted and the embryos were created, the couple split up.

The woman, who is now 41, is cancer-free, and her doctors indicate that her treatments will not affect her ability to carry a child. Her former boyfriend, however, is attempting to block her usage of the embryos, saying that he contributed the sperm under duress. During earlier attempts to reach a settlement, the man agreed to let his former girlfriend use the embryos if any children born could not be traced back to him. He later determined, however, that anonymity was not guaranteed, so he is no longer assenting to the embryos being used.


No support of any kind, including financial, is being sought from the man as the woman solely wishes to preserve her right to have a biological child. A Cook County judge had previously awarded the embryos to the woman, but higher courts sent the case back, saying the issue is one of prior agreement rather than one hinging on the interests of either potential parent.

In the ever-changing world of medicine, attorneys focusing on modern family law issues must keep up-to-date not only with the latest medical procedures, but with potential legal advances too. Chicago-area lawyers experienced in such issues can possibly help individuals by giving advice on complicated legal questions involving fertility or mothers' and fathers' rights.

Source: MSN News, "Former couple take fight over frozen embryos to court", Bonnie Miller Rubin and Angie Leventis Lourgos, September 23, 2013

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