Pacific Fertility Center Physician Interviewed about the Legal Fate of a Divorced Couple's Embryos
Carl Herbert, MD, fertility specialist at Pacific Fertility Center (PFC), was recently interviewed by two local television stations—ABC7 News and KTVU Channel 2—regarding a high-profile embryo custody case currently being heard in San Francisco Superior Court. The first of its kind in California, the case concerns a dispute between a divorced couple battling over the fate of their frozen embryos.
On the eve of her wedding in 2010, 41-year-old Mimi Lee, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her husband, Stephen Findley, decided to cryogenically freeze five embryos to preserve her fertility. The couple subsequently divorced.
The couple had signed a consent form with the UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, agreeing to destroy the embryos should they divorce. Maintaining that the terms of their agreement were clear, Li’s ex-husband wants the embryos destroyed. However, Lee contends the document was not binding and that this is her only chance to have a biological child.
Previously involved with a similar case in Tennessee, Dr. Herbert emphasized the need for clear legal agreements signed by both parties. In two separate television interviews, he reinforced each individual’s right to procreate or not to procreate. “In similar cases in other states,” said Dr. Herbert, “the courts have almost always determined that both parties’ consent is required to thaw and transfer the embryos to attempt pregnancy.” This has been true, he said, regardless of the circumstances surrounding creation of the embryos.
With more than half a million frozen embryos exist in the United States, the outcome of the case is potentially precedent setting.
About Pacific Fertility Center
Pacific Fertility Center is an international destination for male and female fertility treatment and care. It provides an extensive array of fertility treatment options ranging from intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) to cutting-edge technology such as vitrification and genetic testing of embryos. For more information: www.pacificfertilitycenter.com.
About the Pacific Fertility Egg Bank
The Pacific Fertility Egg Bank is a full-service frozen donor egg program located in San Francisco, CA. Through its relationship with Pacific Fertility Center, the Pacific Fertility Egg Bank can offer clients from around the world extremely high IVF success rates, greater convenience, and lower costs.
Renee H. Scudder, MS
Pacific Fertility Center
55 Francisco Street, Fifth Floor
San Francisco, CA 94133