Spare Embryos Must be Destroyed: Texas Nurse Loses Last Supreme Court Petition
By Hilary White
HOUSTON, Texas, May 15, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Texas nurse has lost her long-running court battle for custody of the three embryos created from her ova and the sperm of her estranged husband. On Monday, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Augusta Roman of Huston, who has tried for five years to secure the right to save the lives of the embryonic children after her divorce from former husband, Randy Roman.
In 2002, the pair had undergone artificial procreation treatments after their marriage in 1997 and both signed an agreement that any embryos not implanted would be destroyed should the couple divorce. Just hours before the embryos were to be implanted, Randy Roman refused to go forward, filing for divorce. But in the divorce proceedings, Augusta withdrew her consent to destroy the embryos.
Randy Roman’s attorney, Greg Enos, told the Huston Chronicle, “Augusta Roman would have been much better off five years ago trying to have children with an anonymous sperm donor rather than wasting tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees and five years trying to get out of the specific legal agreement she signed”.
An earlier court decision had granted her permission to go forward with implantation, but her former husband intervened.
The couple underwent a mediated divorce in which Augusta kept their house and most of the furniture, but Randy refused to allow the implantation. His attorney told the Today television show in 2007 that even though Augusta had agreed to release him from any financial obligation for the children, he would not relent.
“A lot of fathers in our society have children and turn their backs on them,” Enos, told Today. “My client is an ethical, religious and moral person. And if he’s going to create a child, he’s going to insist on being a father, but he doesn’t want to bring a child into a relationship that is already divorced and so acrimonious.”
Almost since its inception in the late 1970s, the world of artificial procreation has been tangled in complex lawsuits. As other techniques and practices are developed, the situation of the mothers, fathers, sperm and ova donors, surrogate mothers and “spare” embryos involved has been a legal quagmire.
In 2004, a California woman was awarded US $1m in damages after a San Francisco fertility clinic implanted the wrong embryos and doctors hid the mistake until her son was ten months old.
The same year, an investigation into in-vitro fertilization (IVF) practices was ordered after a white UK couple gave birth to black twins following an IVF procedure from a Leeds hospital. A two-year legal battle ensued over the true parentage of the twins, with a UK court ruling in February 2004 that the legal parent was the black biological father.
In 2003, an Irish mother lost a legal challenge to save the lives of her frozen offspring in a similar situation to that of Augusta Roman. Her former husband suggested the embryos be donated for medical experimentation.