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J.B. v. M.B.

Supreme Court of New Jersey
783 A.2d 707 (N.J. 2001)


J. B. (plaintiff) was unable to conceive a child and underwent in vitro fertilization (IVF) at the Cooper Center (the Center) (defendant) using genetic material provided by her husband, M. B. (defendant). After the successful fertilization of 11 pre-embryos, four were implanted in J. B., and the remaining seven were cryopreserved. The consent form signed by J. B. and M. B. at the Center prior to them undergoing the IVF procedure provided that ownership of the preserved pre-embryos would be relinquished to the Center upon their divorce unless a trial court held otherwise. J. B. became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. Later, J. B. filed for divorce from M. B. and expressly sought an order requesting that the seven preserved pre-embryos be destroyed. However, M. B. wanted the tissues to be implanted in J. B. or donated for use by other couples. J. B. moved for summary judgment on the pre-embryo issue. M. B. filed a cross-motion for summary judgment and claimed that J. B. and M. B. had an agreement that any unused pre-embryos would not be destroyed. The trial court granted the divorce and granted J. B.’s motion for summary judgment on the pre-embryo issue, concluding that J. B. had a greater interest in the preserved pre-embryos in terms of not procreating. M. B. appealed. The appellate division affirmed. The Supreme Court of New Jersey granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Poritz, C.J.)

Concurrence (Zazzali, J.)

Concurrence (Verniero, J.)

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