An appeals court has ruled that a Chicago woman should get custody of embryos she had frozen before cancer treatment so she’d still be able to have a child, overruling objections from her former boyfriend.
The Illinois Appellate Courts in Chicago reaffirmed Friday that Dr. Karla Dunston should get custody of three frozen embryos despite her ex-boyfriend Jacob Szafranski’s pleas against what he said he considers forced procreation.
Dunston was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago. Knowing chemotherapy would make her infertile, she had the embryos frozen before treatment. Szafranski provided the sperm. They broke up months later.
The appeals court ruled that the couple had entered an oral contract. It also decided the 43-year-old Dunston, whose cancer is now in remission, has a greater interest in the embryos’ fate than the 33-year-old Szafranski because they are her “last and only opportunity to have a biological child.”
“These three embryos represent Dr. Dunston’s last chance to have children that share her genetic material,” her attorney Abram Moore said. “Mr. Szafranski agreed to create these embryos … so that Dr. Dunston could use them to attempt to have children if she survived cancer.”
Szafranski’s attorney, Brian Schroeder, said he plans to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
In an interview with WMAQ-TV, Szafranski said, “I don’t think anyone should ever have their right to decide when and how they become a parent decided for them, and this is exactly what this is doing.”