Cryopreserved Embryos Case Study

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In 1992, the Tennessee Supreme Court, in the landmark case Davis v. Davis, confronted a marital dispute over the disposition of seven cryopreserved embryos. The couple involved had attempted unsuccessfully for years to conceive through the help of IVF. Frustrated, the couple divorced, leaving the issue of ownership over their stored, fertilized embryos as the source of much debate. The main issue concerned the appropriate legal characterization of the embryos because while the wife viewed the embryos as potential human beings, the husband viewed the embryos as marital property, just as a house or car would be viewed. Ultimately, however, the court concluded that cryopreserved embryos were neither "persons" nor "property", but rather something

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