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DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC Board certified Family Law Specialist*

Embryonic personhood and its effect on Arizona parents

Many Arizona couples unable to have children strive to keep their dreams alive through vitro fertilization. Technology continues to evolve to help make biological parentage a reality. However, the odds are often against them, as many embryos do not develop.

In those cases, dreams are sometimes dashed. In other instances, nightmares take the form of divorce actions after embryos have been frozen.

Following Ruby Torres breast cancer diagnosis, the Arizona resident had her embryos frozen prior to starting treatment. Her goal of having children with her husband hit a roadblock when the couple separated. Matters went from bad to worse when her husband refused her request for the embryos that would allow her to have biological children.

According to Mr. Torres, he simply did not want to bear the financial burden of parenting. Citing a medical agreement signed by both spouses prior to their divorce, a judge subsequently ruled that the embryos should be donated to another couple or a fertility bank.

Mrs. Torres appealed the case that bears a strong resemblance to a child custody dispute. The legal dispute is far from resolved.

Seemingly swooping in to save the day, members of the Arizona State Senate considered a new bill that would establish something unprecedented in the United States.
Embryonic personhood.

The purpose of SB 1393 is to designate that the “custody” of embryos should go to the spouse who would allow the embryos to develop to birth in spite of any objections from the other parent. Supporters tout the bill ad more of a “clarification” that protects parents’ rights to in vitro embryos in divorce proceedings. Opponents fear that passage of the legislation would take away the rights of spouses who may not want to have children.

On Thursday, senators passed the bill that will now go to the Arizona House of Representatives.


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DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC and founding attorney DeShon Laraye Pullen received many prestigious honors, including: Small Firm of the Year, Family Law Litigator of the Year, selection to Arizona Super Lawyers and a Superb, 10.0 Avvo rating.

Rated by Super Lawyers | Deshon Pullen AVVO Rating 10.0 Superb | Top Attorney Family AVVO Clients Choice 2012 | Family Super Lawyers Attorney At Law Magazine | Specialty Law Firm Deshon Pullen Sustain Member | Arizona's Finest Lawyers Top Lawyer 2013