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Szafranski v. Dunston

Appellate Court of Illinois for the First District
993 N.E.2d 502 (2013)


Jacob Szafranski (plaintiff) and Karla Dunston (defendant) were in a romantic relationship when Dunston was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Dunston’s doctor informed her that chemotherapy would likely cause her to be infertile. Before Dunston began chemotherapy, Szafranski agreed to donate his sperm to create pre-embryos with Dunston’s eggs. As a standard procedure, Dunston and Szafranski signed an informed-consent form at the hospital that provided that the embryos could not be used without the consent of both parties. On that same day, Dunston and Szafranski met with an attorney and decided to enter a co-parent agreement. The co-parent agreement gave Dunston the right to control disposition of the embryos in the event of a breakup. However, neither Dunston nor Szafranski  ever signed the co-parent agreement. Nevertheless, Szafranski deposited his sperm, which was used to fertilize Dunston’s eggs. As a result, three pre-embryos survived and were frozen. One month after Dunston began chemotherapy, Szafranski ended their relationship. A few months later, Szafranski filed a pro se complaint, seeking a permanent injunction against Dunston so that he could preserve his right not to become a father. Dunston counterclaimed, seeking sole custody of the pre-embryos so that she could use those pre-embryos to bear children. Dunston also filed a motion for summary judgment. The circuit court granted Dunston’s summary-judgment motion. Szafranski appealed.

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