Sunday, December 8, 2013

A.Z. v. B.Z. case brief

A.Z. v. B.Z. case brief summary
725 N.E.2d 1051 (2000)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Defendant appealed the judgment of the Suffolk Division of the Probate and Family Court Department (Massachusetts) that included a permanent injunction prohibiting her from utilizing frozen preembryos held in cryopreservation at fertility clinic. Case transferred from the Appeals Court at initiative of the Supreme Judicial Court.

CASE FACTS
Defendant, the former wife (wife) of plaintiff husband (husband) appealed from that portion of a family court judgment that permanently enjoined her from utilizing frozen preembryos held in cryopreservation at a fertility clinic. During the parties' marriage, through the assistance of a fertility clinic, preembryos were created from the joining of wife's eggs and husband's sperm. Some of the preembryos were then frozen. Subsequently, the parties separated and husband filed for divorce. The final divorce decree included a provision granting husband a permanent injunction preventing wife from using he preembryos.

DISCUSSION
  • On appeal, wife argued that a consent form signed by husband and wife when their sperm and eggs, respectively, were harvested entitled her to the use of the preembryos in the hopes of having additional children in the future. 
  • The order enjoining her from using the preembryos was affirmed; husband's interest in avoiding procreation outweighed wife's interest in having additional children, and public policy dictated that husband not be forced to become a parent against his will.

CONCLUSION
Order permanently enjoining defendant wife from utilizing frozen preembryos held in cryopreservation at a fertility clinic was affirmed; plaintiff husband's interest in avoiding procreation outweighed defendant's interest in having additional children, and public policy dictated that husband not be forced against his will to become a parent.

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