Does woman need ex's permission to use frozen embryos from 4 years ago?

CHICAGO (WLS) -- An Elgin man who donated his sperm to create embryos with his ex-girlfriend no longer wants them used. Does she need his consent?

Jacob Szafranski says he's in no position to become a father. The 33-year-old paramedic said he hopes the Illinois Appellate Court will not force him into being a parent with his now ex-girlfriend, Dr. Karla Dunston.

Szafranski is in the middle of a legal battle with Dr. Dunston over embryos the couple created more than four years ago after she was diagnosed with cancer. Because chemotherapy would make her infertile, Dr. Dunston asked Szafranski to donate sperm to create and freeze embryos.

"I wanted to do whatever I could to emotionally support her given the fact I had romantic feelings for her and I didn't know where the relationship was going," Szafranksi said.

Their relationship didn't go anywhere. When it ended Szafranski changed his mind about being a father. He filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Dr. Dunston from using the embryos without his consent.

"I'm not asking for any type of ownership of the embryos. I'm asking that they not be used until I tell her they can be used. That is something I feel is my right," he said.

Szafranski's legal argument before the Illinois Appellate Court is based on a consent form Szafranski and Dunston signed at the fertility clinic the day after he verbally agreed to help.

"This form has a provision that states no use can be made of embryos without the consent of both parties," lawyer Brian Schroeder-Schiller, Ducanto & Fleck, said.

Dr. Dunston's attorneys argued in court that while Szafranski has the right to change his mind about whether to donate sperm, he chose to donate it for the purpose of helping Dunston have children.

Her lawyers say Szafranski promised Dunston several times that she could use the embryos for that purpose and insist she is not forcing Szafranski into parenthood, and is asking Dunston be declared a sperm donor with no legal or financial obligations to any resulting child.

A ruling will be issued at a later date.

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