Pa. Appeals Court Upholds Awarding of Embryos to Wife | | Marie McCullough | 4/4/12

Primitive Trilaminar Human Embryo in Tubal Pre...

Primitive Trilaminar Human Embryo in Tubal Pregnancy (40X) (Photo credit: euthman)

For the first time, a Pennsylvania appeals court has confronted the complex question of who gets custody of embryos, ruling this week in favor of a Chester County woman who hopes to give birth using frozen embryos that her estranged husband wants destroyed.

The three-judge Superior Court panel affirmed and quoted the trial court’s reasoning: “Because Wife cannot achieve genetic parenthood otherwise, we conclude that Wife’s interest in biological procreation through the use of these pre-embryos outweighs Husband’s professed interest against procreation.”

The Superior Court opined that the couple’s conflict could have been avoided if they had signed an agreement spelling out what to do with the embryos in case of divorce or death, or if the state legislature had passed a law addressing the issue.

Other states have different laws relating to embryo disposition:

  • Florida says that if a couple neglect to have a written agreement, they jointly share responsibility for deciding what to do.
  • Louisiana’s law, meanwhile, gives embryos the same legal rights as born children .
  • Tennessee weighs the interests of both parties – a balancing test used by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in its decision. See Davis v. Davis, decided in 1992.

For full article see: Pa. appeals court upholds awarding of embryos to wife –


About vinhsu

Center City Philadelphia General Practice Law Firm with emphasis on Criminal Defense, Family Law, Immigration, Real Property, and Wills/Trusts/ Estate Planning. Licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
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