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Szafranski v. Dunston
Illinois Appellate Court
393 Ill. Dec. 604, 34 N.E.3d 1132 (2015)
Jacob Szafranski (plaintiff) and Karla Dunston (defendant) were dating when Dunston learned she had cancer. Her doctor recommended chemotherapy, which would likely leave Dunston infertile. Before treatment, Dunston asked Szafranski to provide sperm to create frozen pre-embryos, and he agreed. Both signed an informed-consent form requiring both parties to consent to any use of the pre-embryos, but stated that if the parties separated, the hospital would defer to a court decision. The next day, the two discussed options with an attorney: enter either a donor agreement that gave Szafranski no rights; or a co-parenting agreement that gave shared parental rights, but gave Dunston the right to the pre-embryos if the two separated. Dunston said they would sign the co-parent agreement, but they never did. Meanwhile, IVF successfully created three frozen pre-embryos. After Dunston’s chemotherapy, Szafranski ended their relationship. The next month, he e-mailed saying he made the decision hastily, wanting to help Dunston have a future child on her own, but did not want to have a child with her. His family and friends had reacted negatively when they found out, and he thought his future happiness might be tied to Dunston and a child he never knew. Szafranski sued to enjoin Dunston’s using the pre-embryos, citing his right not to become a father. Dunston countered for the right to use the pre-embryos. The court granted Dunston summary judgment, but the appellate court reversed and remanded for trial. Dunston prevailed, and Szafranski again appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Liu, J.)
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