Family Law

Judge upholds oral pact, says woman can implant fertilized eggs despite ex-boyfriend's objection

In 2009, as Karla Dunston faced treatment for lymphoma that could, and did, make her infertile, she and her boyfriend agreed to create embryos together that could be frozen for subsequent use. A written agreement giving her control of the embryos was drafted but never signed.

Later, Jacob Szafranski changed his mind when friends reacted negatively to the idea. In the litigation that eventually resulted, he said he didn’t want to risk future romantic relationships by having a child with Dunston years after their 2010 breakup, even though she has said she wouldn’t expect child support, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Now a Chicago area judge has ruled in Dunston’s favor in the long-running case, giving her custody of the frozen embryos. In a Thursday ruling in the Cook County case, Judge Sophia H. Hall explained that “Karla’s desire to have a biological child in the face of the impossibility of having one without using the embryos outweighs Jacob’s privacy concerns, which are now moot.”

The judge also described as “speculative” Szafranski’s “concern that he might not find love with a woman because he unhesitatingly agreed to help give Karla her last opportunity to fulfill her wish to have a biological child.”

Attorney Brian Schroeder represents Szafranski and said his client plans to appeal the decision.

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.