A Sydney woman has ordered for the destruction of her ex-wife’s 12 embryos even though she has no genetic link to them, a court has heard.
The couple used IVF to have twins, which were created using the first woman’s eggs, and another child, which was created using the second woman’s eggs.
The first woman and the second, referred to in court documents as Ms B Selkirk, are currently in an ongoing battle to divide their property and determine the custody of their children.
As part of their dispute, the first woman has asked the Family Court to destroy the embryos.
When the couple signed up for IVF treatment they signed a form which stated the embryos would be discarded if they were to break up.
‘It’s horrifying that someone would try to prevent someone else from having children that are not in any way related to them,’ Ms Selkirk told The Australian.
‘I think if people believed they wouldn’t have ultimate control over their genetic material then they might be more hesitant to go through the process.’
Ms Selkirk said new legislation needed to be introduced which gave people more information and control over what could happen to their embryos.
During an interim hearing last year, Ms Selkirk asked the judge to transfer the embryos into her name as they were allegedly put in her ex-wife’s name by mistake.
The judge denied this request and said the destruction of the embryos should be determined in court.
Family lawyer, Stephen Page, said he was told by Australian IVF clinics that battles over who retains the rights to embryos happened regularly but most people did not go to court.
‘But most people aren’t prepared to go to court over it. So then these embryos remain on ice, not being used and not being able to be donated to anyone else,’ he told The Australian.
In 2007, the Family Court of Western Australia ordered the destruction of embryos after a husband and wife separated.
When they signed up for IVF, they stated if they were to divorce the embryos would be destroyed.
The wife wanted to go through with the destruction of the embryos like they agreed, but the husband changed his mind and wanted them retained.
The judge ruled in favour of the wife as the embryos were created for her to get pregnant while they were together, but since they were divorced, they were no longer needed.
Stay Informed. It’s simple, free & convenient!