When a couple creates embryos together,who gets to decide their fate if the couple breaks up?

These cases are arising across the country as the use of assisted reproductive technology explodes without uniform law to guide its users. Much of the time, a court will favor the person who doesn’t want the embryos used. But in Chicago last week, an appeals court opted to give a woman the right to use the embryos, over the objection of her ex-boyfriend.

The backstory here is indisputably sad. As the Chicago Tribune reports, the woman, Karla Dunston, was diagnosed with lymphoma and asked her boyfriend, Jacob Szafranski, to provide sperm so she could secure her ability to have a biological child. They broke up, he changed his mind, and — significantly — they had never signed an agreement about the future of the embryos. Instead, the appellate court enforced an oral agreement granting Dunston the right to decide.

Celebrity watchers know this case echoes a much more public fight between actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-boyfriend, Nick Loeb– in that case, he wants to use the embryos, and she doesn’t want to grant permission.

To my mind, it’s possible to see both sides of this battle, though I am saddened the couple wasn’t persuaded to put their thoughts in writing. Does it influence your opinion to know that Dunston has since given birth, via a donated embryo?


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