Two Distant Couples Connected By Contract, Two Children Born of Frozen Embryos and Two Still Frozen Embryos, Now Vie for Possession of the Remaining Frozen Embryos

California couple contracts to give four frozen embryos to a Missouri couple.

Missouri couple uses two of the frozen embryos to give birth to twin daughters early this year.

The two remaining frozen embryos are in the possession of a California fertility clinic.

In a lawsuit, the California couple now seeks return of the as yet unused two frozen embryos.

They assert that the Missouri couple is required by their contract to return the unused embryos and that the California couple is disturbed by the Missouri couple’s alleged breach of contract and recent behavior regarding the twins.

In a lawsuit of their own, the Missouri couple assert their own interest in the frozen embryos as their unborn adopted “children” and the frozen embryos’ kinship interest in their Missouri siblings.

The unusual contract between the couples reportedly provides for the Missouri offspring to have ongoing open contact with their genetic siblings, the California offspring. It also provides for the Missouri couple to furnish the California couple with ongoing reports about how the Missouri offspring are doing.

Smacking of more conventional open adoption.

Under the contract, the Missouri couple is to pay for storage of the frozen embryos for a year, after which the California couple reportedly may have them back.

The California couple requested return of the as yet unused embryos to donate to another couple.

Now the reversion provision of the contract is being challenged by the Missouri couple, and the clinic is caught in the middle of the dispute between the two couples.

Raising complex questions somewhere betwixt property ownership and child custody.

Which the parties now hope to resolve via mediation next month. Both lawsuits are stayed until the mediation.

Read more in this St. Louis [MO] Post Dispatch article: Couples wrangle over frozen embryos’ fate and this St. Louis [MO] article: Suits over embryos halted