Embryo Dispute – Here is an udpated blog post on the embryo lawsuits via the AFA blog.
The lawsuits filed by the couple in California and the couple in Missouri over embryos donated from one party to the other is guaranteed to make those of us in this industry very concerned about the future of this wonderful option for so many people. Embryo donation, or embryo adoption as referred by some, is an alternative form of family building that allows those who cannot conceive the ability to experience a pregnancy. Unfortunately, in this case, this couple met online (not bad in itself) and then apparently used an agreement without the help of attorneys (mistake number one).
In fact, this agreement, although it was previously drafted (by whom and for whom is apparently unknown) to satisfy the Catholic Church’s doctrine regarding the sanctity of life, it apparently allows the donating couple to take back the embryos that they have donated. And, that is what is unusual here, the agreement has an “escape clause” of sorts (mistake number two), where the donating couple could revoke the agreement if the embryos were not used. Why is this unusual? This is unusual because the agreement likely already terminated their rights to these embryos and any resulting children.
What we now have before us are dueling lawsuits in California and Missouri, where it is possible to have two different outcomes and vigorous debates over the status of an embryo – are they “pre-born” children or are they quasi-property to be conveyed? Past embryo disputes that have hit the courts have strictly involved divorcing couples fighting over their embryos and their disposition after divorce.
Yes, the certainty of these donations may seem questionable at best, but the industry as a whole, along with the professionals involved, have been working with embryo donation for many years. Unfortunately, these couples did not retain a qualified attorney, nor did they attempt to resolve this out of court, which would have not only been best for the parties, but also for these three children already in existence.
A hearing is expected this Wednesday, April 14th, in Missouri, so expect an update as more facts emerge and the courts begin to make rulings.