Woman's frozen embryo trial leads way to new law in Arizona

The woman's case inspired a new law in the state of Arizona

A Phoenix woman has been denied the opportunity to become a mother following the verdict by the highest court in the state, about the woman's frozen embryo that cannot be used because of a contract she signed with her ex-husband.

Ruby Torres, is a cancer survivor and had her embryos frozen when she found out that the cancer treatment would lead to infertility. The divorced woman in Phoenix was left disheartened after the ruling on Thursday and said that she will never be able to know what it feels like to be a mother.

Torres's ex-husband argued that he didn't want to be responsible for the child which he didn't want. The verdict now says that she has to donate her embryos as per the contract signed by John Terrel, the ex-husband, and Torres.

She was dating Terrel when she froze the embryos

Embryo Wikimedia Commons/ekem-RWJMS IVF Program

Torres was 33-year-old when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and was dating Terrel at the time. The pair decided to freeze the embryos after she came to know that she would struggle with infertility. Initially, Terrel was reluctant to give the sperms and Torres was considering sperm donors. But Torres's then-boyfriend donated his sperms for the fertilization procedure.

Before the procedure, they signed a contract that agreed that if they were separated or divorced the embryo would be donated. The fertilized egg was then considered to be a joint property that if one of them disagreed on using would be donated.

The court records said that they married four days after signing the contract and started the IVF procedure soon after. Three years after the marriage Terrel filed for a divorce and Torres requested the embryos to be used because her chances of becoming a mother were ruined because of the chemotherapy. But, today after years of struggle to find justice Torres has lost hope.

The ex-husband John Terrel's lawyer said that despite having a contract and being split, Terrel would be responsible for child support under the Arizona laws. He would have to provide for the child even if he didn't want a child. Torres had planned to get married again and making sure that the future husband would be ready to adopt the child.

The lower court had decided that the high profile case will be handled with care and had initially been accepting Torres's state and was agreeing to the situation but, the binding contract led to the case working out in favour of Terrel's situation.

New Law in Arizona for similar cases

Ruby Torres
Ruby Torres YouTube Grab/ 12 News

The case has been running for quite a long time and inspired a new law in the state of Arizona. The case created a lot of attention on the probabilities of what would happen if the parents were separated while undergoing the treatment or freezing the embryos.

The new law passed last year states that the embryo can be used by the spouse who wishes to use them in case of separation or divorce. It also states that the other person would not be forced to give child support.

Since Torres signed an explicit agreement with Terrel in the fertility clinic, she cannot use the new law to her advantage. Ruby Torres has 15 days to take the case to the Supreme Court.