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Ex-couple in Illinois battle in court over frozen embryos

Sept. 18, 2013 at 5:23 PM

CHICAGO, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- An estranged Illinois couple are battling in court over the future of frozen embryos they created before they broke up.

Dr. Karla Dunston wants a biological child, the Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday. Her ex-boyfriend, Jacob Szafranski, a nurse, said forcing him into parenthood without consent would violate his rights, even though Dunston has said she does not expect financial help or any other assistance.

The couple created the eggs in 2010 after Dunston was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She was 39 at the time -- near the end of her fertile years -- and knew chemotherapy would probably end any chance she had of conceiving a child.

Szafranski agreed to participate at the time. Two months later, they broke up.

A lower court ruled in favor of Dunston, but an appeals court sent the case back for reconsideration. Legal experts say the problem is deciding what exactly the couple agreed to when they created the embryos.

The couple signed a consent form at the time that would bar any use of the embryos without mutual agreement. But Szafranski also wrote Dunston at the time saying he "wanted to help her have a baby."

A lawyer drew up a third document that would have given Dunston control of the embryos. The couple never signed it.

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