© 2023 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ontario court decides embryo is property in divorce

frozen-embryos_wide-9c411023a7e6ee771378887d15188c8647f3732e-s800-c85.jpg
File Photo
/
National Public Radio

An Ontario court has decided a divorced woman can keep a frozen embryo she and her ex-husband had bought and can use it to impregnate herself.

The decision as to ownership of the embryo - created from donated sperm and eggs - turned on contracts the couple signed when they embarked on the fertility process that resulted in a son.

The couple, identified only as DH and SH, married in early 2009. In 2012, according to court records, they paid more than $11,000 to a U.S. facility to buy donated eggs and sperm from which four embryos resulted - two of them remained viable.

The couple split up at about the same time their son was born in December 2012, leading to an acrimonious divorce and the dispute over the remaining embryo.

Sara Cohen, a Toronto-based lawyer with expertise in fertility issues, says this is the first time she knows of in which a judge explicitly stated that an embryo should be treated as property.

The Associated Press is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, it's a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members.
Related Content