The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that a woman cannot use frozen embryos fertilized by her ex and has to donate them.
According to CNN, Ruby Torres underwent cancer treatment more than five years ago. As a result, she chose to fertilize several eggs before undergoing chemotherapy in the hopes of using them after her treatment was over.
Arizona Supreme Court Rules in Ex-Husband’s Favor When It Comes to Ex’s Frozen Embryos
At the time, Torres and her boyfriend, John Joseph Terrell, signed an agreement with the fertility clinic stating that if they broke up, they would either have to discard the eggs, donate the eggs or one of the parties could use them, but with “express, written consent” from both of them.
The couple married shortly thereafter, and underwent in-vitro fertilization, according to court documents obtained by ABC 15, but divorced in 2017 after chemotherapy caused a “significant drop in [Torres’s] reproductive function.” The couple has been battling in court ever since about what to do with the embryos.
Torres wanted to keep them and use them to hopefully one day have a child. Her ex, though, did not want to father any children with his ex and wished to have them donated. Torres once told ABC 15, “I wanted the opportunity to have a child because I knew the risk and what the research was telling me. I opted to create the embryos.”
Family Court ruled in Terrell’s favor, saying that his “right to not be compelled to be a parent outweighs (Torres’) right to procreate and desire to have a biologically related child.” An appeals court then overturned the initial ruling and ruled in favor of Torres.
From there, it went to the state Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled in favor of Terrell, citing the contract both parties had signed at the fertility center. “The court could only direct donation of the embryos,” their ruling said.
“The last clause was for divorce and we both opted to preserve them. They would either go to him or go to me if we could come to an agreement or they would be given up for donation,” Torres told ABC 15. “The embryos were my only chance at having a biological child.”
Eric M. Fraser, Terrell’s attorney, told CNN, “These are extremely difficult and emotional issues, so it’s best for couples to make decisions ahead of time. The Arizona Supreme Court enforced their contract, which gives much-needed certainty to other couples around the state that courts will respect the decisions they make.”
Torres’ lawyer has not responded to requests for comment. It’s unclear if the former couple has a timeline in which they need to donate or discard the embryos.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.
Mamas Uncut is the place for moms online. We cover the latest news around motherhood and parenting, plus entertainment news as well – all with a mom-focused twist. Looking for parenting advice? We have plenty of it, all for moms, from moms. Our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for. We don’t stop there though, we have expert advice on a range of topics, and all of our categories get updated multiple times a day, so if there’s one website for moms you need to bookmark, it’s Mamas Uncut. We cover it all, from the latest and trendiest baby names, in the US and all over the world, to advice for moms in the workplace, or mom to mom advice on balancing it all. Looking for an answer to a specific question you’ve have? Head over to our new answers section, where you can ask questions on a nearly endless amount of topics, and you’ll get answers fast – really fast. Mamas Uncut is more than just the place for moms, it’s the community of moms – all here to help, make friends, and more. Not sure where to start? Take a look at one of our key topic areas like Pregnancy or Relationships – if you’re looking for advice on a specific topic, there’s a pretty good chance that we’ve already written on it (a few times), or that it’s within our answers section. If you don’t have time to read the site every day, we also have a newsletter that you can control how often you want to receive – that way we send all of the must-see content for moms directly to your inbox – it’s that easy. So go ahead and take a look around, ask a question, or just keep reading, we’re glad you’re here.