Can Lost Embryos Give Rise to a Wrongful-Death Suit? image

The Atlantic , April 5, 2018
Sara Zhang, quoting I. Glenn Cohen (Faculty Director)


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From the article:

Over a single weekend in March, an unprecedented disaster hit fertility clinics—twice.

First came the news that the University Hospitals Fertility Center in Ohio, lost more than 4,000 eggs and embryos in a malfunctioning cryogenic tank. Then, in an unrelated incident, Pacific Fertility Center in California reported that liquid-nitrogen levels had fallen too low in a tank holding “several thousand” eggs and embryos, affecting an unconfirmed number.

The filing cites a 1985 Ohio Supreme Court case, Werling v. Sandy, that held a viable fetus is a person. But I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School, says that case may not be the most relevant one here. A viable fetus is one that can survive outside of a womb. And in Egan v. Smith, an Ohio Court of Appeals court held in 1993 that wrongful death could not be brought for a nonviable fetus. This case is more likely to apply to embryos. “It’s a real stretch,” he says, “but lawyers are supposed to give every argument they can.”

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bioethics biotechnology human tissue i. glenn cohen public health reproductive rights reproductive technologies