Divorced couple battle over future of frozen embryos in St. Louis court

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - A historic court case over the future of two frozen embryos is now before the Missouri Court of Appeals. It is a dispute between a former husband and wife over whether or not the woman has the right to have their two frozen embryos implanted and brought to term.

The couple already has two boys who grew from in vitro fertilization. A three panel judge from the Missouri Court of Appeals heard the arguments Wednesday at a court room in the Old Post Office.

An attorney for the father says he does not want anymore children with his former wife. He argues it would violate his constitutional rights if she proceeds. However her lawyers insist Missouri law protects the embryos as children.

"There's a lot of women and men across the United states that are having to go through this grief. They are in their late 30s or 40s and they want to have children. This is the time they want children and they were planning their parenthood by doing the IVF and the courts are stripping away that right to them." said mother Jasha McQueen.

"I very strongly believe that if he were, the statute were interpreted to force him to do that, it would be unconstitutional under a strong line of United States Supreme Court cases which grant him certain fundamental rights not to be forced to bear children against his will ." said the ex-husband`s attorney Tim Schlesnger.

The lawyers say this is the first case of its kind in the country. The judges were intently focused,asking questions for twice the time normally allotted for such an appeal.

It will take at least several months before they issue a ruling.