Couple can't sue for wrongful death over embryo destruction

Chris Rizo Sep. 15, 2008, 9:51am

Margaret O'Mara Frossard

CHICAGO (Legal Newsline)-A couple cannot sue a fertility clinic for wrongful death because it destroyed their embryos, an Illinois court has ruled.

A state appeals court ruled Friday that Allison Miller and Todd Parrish cannot seek damages from the Center for Human Reproduction in Chicago.

The couple in January 2000 created and stored nine embryos at the clinic. When they called the center six months later to have the embryos transferred to another facility they were told the embryos had been destroyed.

They sued under the Wrongful Death Act, which provides for monetary compensation from someone who harms a fetus in the womb by an attack or accident.

Two judges had ruled the couple could not sue under the law. Then Cook County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Lawrence reversed their decisions.

The appeals court decision Friday reverses Lawrence's decision.

Illinois Appellate Court Justice Margaret O'Mara Frossard ruled the law does not address in vitro fertilization and the preservation of embryos outside of the womb. She ruled that if state lawmakers want to extend the law they need to do it legislatively.

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