Seven frozen embryos are in legal limbo after Tennessee's Supreme Court ruled that a divorced woman cannot use them to make her ex-husband a father against his will.
The five-member court ruled unanimously Monday that Mary Sue Davis Stowe cannot implant or donate the test-tube embryos she and Junior Lewis Davis conceived three years ago before their breakup.It was left unclear what might happen next to the 4- to 8-cell embryos frozen in liquid nitrogen at a Knoxville fertility clinic.
The court said the clinic "is free to follow its normal procedure in dealing with unused pre-embryos, as long as that procedure is not in conflict with this opinion."
Charles Clifford, Davis' lawyer, said the embryos probably will be destroyed.
"You can't give them to us, can't give them to her, can't donate them if anybody objects. So what does that leave? . . . Turn up the heat," he said.
"I guess they are just going to sit there," said Mary Sue Stowe's lawyer, Kurt Erlenbach. "That's what we will explore over the next few days."