Ruby Torres Arizona cancer patient loses Supreme Court case forcing former husband into fatherhood as she seeks to have biological child post divorce w/ embryo.
Prior to undergoing chemotherapy, Torres decided to increase her chances of later having a biological child by using her eggs — and her then-boyfriend John Terrell’s sperm — to create embryos and then freeze them for later implantation through in vitro fertilization according to court documents.
Canvassing a potential split in the future, the then couple signed an agreement outlining what would happen if they decide to break up. The embryos could either be donated to another couple, or one partner would be permitted to use them — with the other’s permission, as per their visit to a fertility clinic.
Instead of a doctor deciding if there would be a child- it was now up to a judge(s).
Post divorce- Torres wanted to keep the embryos, while Terrell insisted he did not want to father any children with his ex-wife and wanted them thrown out. Terrell maintained he could not be forced into fatherhood, especially as the couple were no longer together.
A clause in the contract the then couple signed before IVF complicated the matter.
‘The last clause was for divorce and we both opted to preserve them. They would either go to him or go to me if we could come to an agreement or they would be given up for donation,’ Torres explained via told ABC 15.
The two couldn’t come to an agreement. So the judge was forced to make a decision and ruled the embryos would be donated.
A family court initially sided with Terrell, stating that his ‘right to not be compelled to be a parent outweighs [Torres’] right to procreate and desire to have a biologically related child.’
But then an appeals court overturned that decision and ruled in Torres’ favor.
Being sensitive to a woman’s desires while also paying homage to men’s rights:
Finally, the Arizona Supreme Court pointed to a condition in the initial agreement noting that ’embryos cannot be used to produce pregnancy against the wishes of the partner.’
‘The embryos were my only chance at having a biological child,’ told Torres via ABC15.
The court said it is ‘cognizant of the unavoidable emotional fallout’ of its decision — but ultimately had no choice but to side with Terrell, according to the ruling.
‘Because the parties did not agree to a unilateral award, the court could only direct donation of the embryos,’ the ruling said.
Back in 2017, Torres told ABC 15 that the embryos were her ‘only chance at having a biological child.’
Torres has 30 days from the final decree to appeal. She hasn’t decided yet if she will.
It remains unclear if the woman’s cancer is in remission and who whether Torres’ former partner would be financially liable were a child to be born.