A woman who gave birth to twins through in vitro fertilization in 2013 using donor eggs and her now ex-husband’s sperm is appealing a Peach County court ruling that gave her ex-husband the right to destroy or donate three remaining embryos.
The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the case Monday in Atlanta.
There’s no law in Georgia addressing the issue, said Connie Williford, the woman’s attorney.
“This case will make Georgia law regarding frozen embryos,” she said. “It is a very important case for our state.”
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Wendy Wilson, owner of Wilson’s Bakery in Warner Robins, met Rommel Delgado is 2010 through a Christian dating site and the two married later that year, according to a case summary provided by a court spokeswoman.
According to the summary:
Because Wilson couldn’t conceive a child naturally, she and Delgado arranged with Oregon Reproductive Medicine to have eggs from a donor fertilized with Delgado’s sperm and implanted into Wilson.
The couple signed a consent form that stated that the embryos were joint property and if they divorced a court would decide the fate of the embryos.
Wilson filed for divorce in 2014.
During divorce proceedings, Wilson claimed she always intended to give birth to the remaining embryos. They are her children’s siblings and she views them as her “children.”
Delgado said he didn’t want more children — even if he was released from any financial or other responsibility.
A Peach County court ruled in Delgado’s favor because he was the one who contributed “biological material” to the embryos and because there was no contract between him and Wilson about what would happen to the embryos if they divorced.
As part of the couple’s two-day divorce trial, the judge awarded Wilson full custody of the couple’s twins while Delgado was afforded limited visitation rights, said Williford, Wilson’s attorney. Reached by phone, Delgado’s attorney declined comment Thursday.
Williford said the judge placed too much weight on genetics, relying on a 1992 Tennessee Supreme Court case that held that the preferences of the person who provided genetic material should prevail. The judge also cited a 2002 Washington Supreme Court decision that held that the rights of a woman who didn’t provide eggs didn’t have a right to embryos unless there was a contract.
Since the Tennessee and Washington decisions were made, legislatures in the states have created statutes providing for the adoption of embryos. Georgia also has such a statute, she said.