A judge awarded custody of frozen embryos to a Chicago woman Friday, despite her former boyfriend's desire that they be destroyed.
Four years ago, Karla Dunston was diagnosed with lymphoma, which would render her infertile due to the chemotherapy. Her boyfriend, Jacob Szafranski, says in the three weeks between her diagnosis and the beginning of her treatment he agreed to provide sperm to freeze embryos.
"We were in a romantic relationship and we had known each other for awhile, and of course I was concerned about supporting her in whatever way I could," Szafranski said.
The couple broke up a year later and Szafranski changed his mind about the embryos.
"In reading the consent and deciding to go ahead with everything, I really thought that was what my understanding of the situation was, that my consent was needed at the time of their use," Szafranski said. "Life changes, your feelings on things changes, your position on the world changes."
The two entered into a long court battle, and the judge eventually ruled in Dunston's favor, saying her "desire to have a biological child in the face of the impossibility of having one without using the embryos outweighs Jacob’s privacy concerns, which are now moot."
Dunston's attorney, Abram Moore, issued a statement to NBC 5 saying she isn't asking for any support at all from her former boyfriend.
"She simply does not want him to stand in the way of her very last chance to have her own biological children," Moore said.
But Szafranski insists this case is not about money.
"This is not the way that I would even think that I would want my child brought into this world, against my will," Szafranski said.
The complex case could set a nationwide precedent.
"This case concerns life itself, and whether you can create it and under what circumstances," Szafranski's lawyer, Brian A. Schroeder said.
Szafranski says he will appeal the decision, a process that could take 4-8 months.