Frozen embryos at center of California divorce war

Frozen embryos at center of California divorce war

Multiple cryogenically frozen and preserved embryos are at the center of a divorce war in California, and a court ruling in the case is expected to determine how the state will deal with such legal conflicts in the future.

On the eve of their wedding in September 2010, Stephen Findley and Mimi Lee learned that Lee was suffering from cancer. The positive result for the deadly disease eclipsed the couple's dreams of having children.

Thus, they rushed to University of California San Francisco's (UCSF's) fertility center, where doctors froze and preserved five of Lee's embryos, fertilized by Findley, for helping the couple having offspring in the future. But Findley and Lee are now in the midst of a bitter divorce war and the frozen embryos are at the center of the legal battle.

Findley wants the embryos to be destroyed but Lee wants to preserve them. Lee's lawyer says that the embryos were the only way for Lee to bear a child.

Peter Skinner, a lawyer representing Lee, told San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, "We don't think the sky would fall. This is an issue of first impression in California, and there is a lot at stake."

A trial in the case is all set to start this Monday.

As fertility technology is becoming increasingly common part of day to day life, such legal battles will likely also increase in the future.

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