In re Marriage of Rooks

429 P.3d 579 (2018)

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In re Marriage of Rooks

Colorado Supreme Court
429 P.3d 579 (2018)

Facts

Mandy Rooks (plaintiff) and Drake Rooks (defendant) had three children using in vitro fertilization (IVF), a form of assisted reproductive technology. During the IVF process, mature ova were harvested from Mandy, fertilized with Drake’s sperm in a laboratory setting, and then implanted into Mandy’s uterus to induce pregnancy. Any pre-embryos, meaning fertilized ova, that were not implanted remained in cryogenic storage. Mandy and Drake entered into an agreement stating that, in the event either of them died, the surviving spouse would retain ownership of any unused pre-embryos; however, they did not reach a formal agreement regarding what would happen in the event of divorce. Several years later, Drake filed for divorce. During the divorce, Drake argued that the remaining pre-embryos should be thawed and discarded. Mandy countered, arguing that the pre-embryos should be preserved for her future use because she was unlikely to be able to have additional children without using the pre-embryos. After looking at the approaches taken by other states in similar cases, the trial court ruled that the pre-embryos should be discarded, holding that Drake’s inherent privacy right to not have more children outweighed Mandy’s inherent privacy right to have additional children. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. Mandy appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Marquez, J.)

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