Kass v. Kass
- P (wife) and D (husband) were married and unsuccessful in having children. They consulted a hospital and decided to try IVF.
- Prior to egg retrieval, P and D signed consent forms that frozen zygotes would not be released without written consent of both parties. The forms also said that in the event of divorce, legal ownership of the zygotes would be determined in a property settlement by order of a court.
- The forms also said that if there were unforeseen circumstances where the parents were not able to determine the disposition of the zygotes, that they wanted to donate the zygotes to science for research.
- After IVF was unsuccessful, P and D were divorced. P sued to take possession of the zygotes. D disputed.
- Lower court found for P.
- Appellate Court reversed, found for D.
- Court of Appeals affirmed, found for D, zygotes to research.
- In a matter involving a dispute in social choice (reproductive rights), what role should the courts play in deciding the dispute?
- Can a court force a person to become a parent against their will?
- In matters involving a dispute in social choice (reproductive rights), the courts should take a limited role, and the original intent of the parties should be honored.
- A court cannot force a person to become a parent against their will.
- Agreements between gamete donors, regarding the disposition of their pre-zygotes, should be presumed valid and binding and enforced in any dispute between them.
- It is important for courts to seek to honor the parties' expressions of choice made before disputes erupt.
- Advance agreements as to disposition would have little purpose if they were enforceable only in the event the parties continued to agree.
- The consents say that their decision was to be joint and not in the hands of strangers.
- This case was decided on public policy. (cannot force someone into a familial relationship against their will)
- Ruled that pre-zygotes are not recognized as persons for constitutional purposes.
- Disposition of the zygotes does not implicate a woman's right to privacy or bodily integrity.