Texas Supreme Court Refuses Rehearing in Roman Frozen Embryo Case

The Texas Supreme Court has refused to grand a rehearing in an important case concerning the right of ownership or control of frozen embryos. Augusta and Randy Roman had already had a miscarriage when they went to a fertility clinic to have eggs implanted. However, on the very night before the implantation, the husband expressed doubts over the marriage and said to resolve the issues before implanting the eggs. They agreed to freeze the eggs and not to implant without both of their consent in a written contract.

After they divorced, she sued for the three eggs and he contested. A Houston trial court ruled for her, but he then prevailed on appeal. Now, with the denial by the Texas Supreme Court, she is planning to file with the Supreme Court. The odds are heavily against her. In cases like A.Z. v. B.Z., 725 N.E.2d 1051, 1057-58 (Mass. 2000) courts have held that public policy protects people from becoming unwilling parents in such cases. Moreover, courts have upheld contracts giving either party a veto over the process. Litowitz v. Litowitz, 48 P.3d 261 (Wash. 2002).

This is an area of shared state and federal issues, but it is a primarily state question. It would be surprising to see the U.S. Supreme Court grant cert for that reason.