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Ethicist and legal scholar debate divorced couple’s fight over fate of frozen embryos




A scientific researcher handles frozen embryonic stem cells in a laboratory, at the Univestiry of Sao Paulo's human genome research center, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 4, 2008.
A scientific researcher handles frozen embryonic stem cells in a laboratory, at the Univestiry of Sao Paulo's human genome research center, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 4, 2008.
MAURICIO LIMA/AFP/Getty Images

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A trial starting this week in San Francisco will determine the future of five frozen embryos. The case is the first of its kind in California.

The embryos belong to a couple that had stored them at UCSF after the woman was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo treatment that would likely make her infertile. The couple signed a contract stating that the embryos would be destroyed in the case of a divorce.

In 2013, the husband filed for a divorce, and for the embryos to be disposed of, but the woman wants them implanted in a surrogate, saying that the frozen embryos represent her only chance at having a genetic child.

Guests:

Judith Daar, Professor at Whittier Law School, Clinical Professor at UCI School of Medicine and current Chair of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Ethics Committee

Art Caplan, professor of bioethics and founding director of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University Langone Medical Center