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Davis v. Davis

Law Dictionary
CASE BRIEFS

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Citation. Davis v. Davis, 842 S.W.2d 588, 1992 Tenn. LEXIS 400 (Tenn. June 1, 1992)

Brief Fact Summary. Mary Sue Davis (Defendant) sought control of the seven frozen embryos stored in a fertility clinic when her husband, Junior Davis (Plaintiff), filed for divorce.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. When the person seeking control of preembryos intends only to donate them to another couple, the objecting person has the greater interest and should prevail.

Facts. In attempting a desired pregnancy, Mary Sue (Defendant) and Junior (Plaintiff) Davis, by way of in vitro fertilization (IVF), produced a number of preembryos, seven of which had been cryogenically frozen for later transfer to Defendant"s uterus.  The divorce action by Plaintiff  prompted Defendant to seek control of the "frozen embryos" to attempt a postdivorce pregnance.  Plaintiff objected.  They agreed on all terms of dissolution except for disposition of the embryos.  Both parties later remarried, and then Defendant wanted to donate the embryos to a couple with no children.  Plaintiff objected adamantly.  The trial court determined that the embryos were "human beings" from the moment of fertilization and awarded "custody" to Defendant.  The court of appeals reversed and gave joint control to the parties to have an equal say regarding disposition of the embryos.  Defendant appealed.

Issue. When the person seeking control of preembryos intends only to donate them to another couple, does the objecting person have the greater interest and should that person prevail?

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