Illinois appeals court hears frozen embryo battle

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An Illinois appellate court is hearing a case about frozen embryos.

Karla Dunston was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

She and her boyfriend, Jacob Szafranski, made embryos that were frozen.

They agreed not to use them unless both sides signed off.

The couple is no longer together.

Dunston believes they are her last chance at becoming a biological mother.

But, Szafranski doesn’t want to be forced to become a father.

The case could go to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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  • john

    The fully informed woman agreed to a contract and now wants the court to relieve her of her agreement. If she wants kids that bad she can adopt. The sperm donor has just as much say as the egg’s provider in this case.

  • MommySmiles

    And he does not need to be a father. Who said he had to become one. Just because he is a “sperm donor” does not make him a father. A father is a man who devotes his life to his children, not just someone who donates his sperm! I would just ask him to sign off his rights, and that he would have no legal or financial obligation to whatever children may come of the woman’s decision.

    • Diane


      The courts are full of dockets with men who signed off on their parental rights after donating sperm to a friend or lesbian couple.

      Guess what , that doesn’t hold up in court. Later when the couples break up or the woman finds she needs financial help a lawyer sues on behalf of the child. Why, because the child did not sign away THEIR rights. Not getting all emotional here because this is a contract case . And there may be extenuating,circumstances that we are not aware of? Maybe mom is terminal and won’t be around to raise the child or maybe she just isn’t good parent material.. Obviously the first judge ruled against her for some reason.

      The male in this case should have as much rights as the woman.

  • kmmcdo1

    I am all for his side – he doesn’t want to be a father. I understand Mommysmiles, but maybe he’s a good man that doesn’t want his own biological child walking the earth. And then I’d argue the opposite side of your case. If his sperm doesn’t make him a father – then her egg doesn’t make her a mother! How she treats a child does. So like John said, go adopt! There are so many children looking for a great home, and a loving mother who would do anything to be their mother. I don’t think she should have made an arrangement with him, and now be taking him to court because she changed her mind about their deal. That’s not right!

      • Kmmcd

        Although you’re entitled to your thoughts on abortion (and please keep in mind, it’s you’re opinions, and no one else is required to feel the same way you do), this case isn’t about that. And if that were ever going to be the women’s defense, she’d be just as guilty as he was. They have this embryo but weren’t sure they would ever use it. Now she’s decides she wants it after they broke up. He doesn’t share her thoughts.

  • severson12

    If the embryo was implanted into the mothers womb and then she decided She or He didn’t want it — then removing IT from the woman’ womb IS an abortion/murder. Didn’t Hobby Lobby fight to un-fund a birth control pill because if would allow a Sperm to fertilize a woman’s Egg but not allow the embryo to implant into the woman’s womb? They called that an Abortion.

    Well… in the same way there IS an embryo in this case (not just and egg or a sperm – but a fertilized egg or embryo) . If this embryo is NOT implanted into the mother and allowed to be born – then discarding this embryo IS MURDER (Abortion).

    • Lisa

      There has to be a pregnancy for there to be an abortion. I guess my body murdered 14 embryos on my way to becoming a mother at last though from your perspective.

  • Lawyer

    This article is incorrect and slanted to the man’s side. There is NO agreement “not to use them unless both sides signed off.” In fact, they created the embryos specifically so she could have children if she survived cancer and the parties’ joint attorney testified that the man said that she should have the embryos if they split up. She relied on his repeated promises that she could use these embryos as her last chance to have biological children. It is not just her “belief” that these are her last chance to have children, it is a fact as decided by the trial court.

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