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Child custody dispute over frozen embryos to be appealed

In a fast-changing world, child custody disputes now also include frozen embryos. California readers may be interested in a child custody dispute in another state where an ex-boyfriend is trying to stop a woman from using frozen embryos. A judge recently ruled in the woman's favor.

The woman was diagnosed with lymphoma some years ago, and treatment started in 2010. She was concerned that the treatment may leave her infertile and prevent her from having a biological child. By using her eggs and the sperm of her boyfriend, embryos were developed and frozen for later use. The boyfriend ended their relationship the following year. The woman survived the cancer and has since given birth to a baby after using donor embryos.

However, her desire to have a biological child still exists, and she has filed a custody claim over the frozen embryos. Her ex-boyfriend claims that his rights are being violated, but no agreement was ever signed to give him rights over the embryos. The judge ruled that her longing for her own biological child outweighs the ex-boyfriend's paternity claim, and the woman was awarded full custody of the embryos.

The ex-boyfriend expressed his intention to appeal the decision and, therefore, the implanting of the embryos will have to wait until the completion of the appeal. Child custody disputes involving frozen embryos could potentially have many pitfalls. Residents of California who want to make use of modern technology to produce biological children may wish to familiarize themselves with the legalities of such procedures. Help is available for protecting the interests of individuals who form part of such an agreement.

Source: The Global Dispatch, "Cancer survivor Karla Dunston wins custody to embryos, boyfriend no longer wants kids", Kaye Wonderhouse, May 18, 2014

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