A San Francisco judge tentatively decided in favor of the ex-husband Wednesday in a divorced couple’s contentious courtroom battle over frozen embryos, upholding the validity of a contract that orders the destruction of the embryos in the event of a divorce.
Attorneys for Mimi Lee, a 42-year-old anesthesiologist, argued before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo that Lee should be able to use the embryos to have a baby. Attorneys said the consent agreement Lee and her then-husband Stephen Findley, 45, signed was invalid and should not be enforced.
But Massullo found that was not the case, and that preventing Lee from using the cryogenically preserved set of embryos to become pregnant does not impede on her constitutional rights to procreate.
“While Lee might have a right to procreate in other circumstances not before the Court, she does not have a right to procreate with Findley,” Massullo wrote in her tentative and proposed statement of decision.
Lee and Findley signed the consent agreement in 2010, while they were married, with the University of California San Francisco’s Center for Reproductive Health. It was at the center of an unprecedented civil case, with attorneys on each side arguing whether or not it was binding.
Lee will have a chance to appeal the decision in court before the order to destroy the embryos is followed through with, according to court records.
This story has been updated to reflect that the University of California San Francisco was the institution involved in the case.