Bitter battle over frozen embryos - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Bitter battle over frozen embryos


(ABC) -- A California doctor is in a legal battle to keep frozen embryos after a bitter divorce.

Her ex-husband wants the embryos destroyed. She says they're her only chance to have children.

"I'm doing this for my babies," said Mimi Lee.

A two-year legal battle pitting Lee against her former husband Stephen Findley, a couple whose romance spanned over two decades, eventually marrying in 2010.

"We met as students at Harvard College," Lee said.

He proposed and right before they were set to get married, Lee got the worst news possible. 

"Ten days before the wedding, I got the diagnosis that i had breast cancer."

"How important was it to you at that moment to preserve your ability to procreate?" ABC News asked Lee.

"It was critically important. We realized the risks. I would be injecting myself with the very hormone that my tumor feeds on. And even with all of those risk, we knew that this was our last best chance," Lee said.

The then-41 year old deciding, along with her husband, to create and preserve 5 embryos. But by 2013, their marriage unraveled- Findley filing
for divorce.

"Tell me about the consent form that you signed. The focus is on that one line that says, "in the case of divorce, the embryos would be unfrozen and discarded," ABC News asked.

"That's right," Lee said.

That signed consent form - a leading silent witness at the trial now determining what should happen to the embryos.

Findley asking the court to enforce it as a legally binding contract

"It's still an agreement. The word agreement appears in the document 27 times," said Thomas Kenney.

And order the embryos destroyed ? Findley also testifying his concern that his ex-wife would "manipulate the situation" to extract money for other purposes- a claim which Lee denies.

On the opposing side: Lee's argument that signing the consent form does not prevent her from changing her mind, pleading for the preservation of the
embryos the now 46-year-old says are her last chance to have children.

"I have biological children ready to come to life."

"She's got a powerful and compelling moral argument. But because she signed that document she's in a tough spot legally," said ABC News Legal Contributor Dan Abrams.

Lee's ex-husband's lawyer said, "It's not that Stephen doesn't want to have children. He just doesn't want to have children with Mimi."

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