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Fertility Clinic Can’t Be Sued for Wrongful Death

CHICAGO (CN) - A couple cannot sue a fertility clinic for wrongful death after a failed attempt at in vitro fertilization, the Illinois Court of Appeals ruled, rejecting the notion that pre-embryos are human beings covered by the Wrongful Death Act.

Alison Miller and Todd Parrish sued the American Infertility Group of Illinois after the clinic did not cryogenically preserve a blastocyst (early embryo) for future use.

The clinic did not inform the Millers of this failure until the Millers requested to have the blastocyst transferred to another clinic.

Justice O'Mara Frossard overruled the circuit court's ruling that a pre-embryo is a human being who is covered under the Wrongful Death Act.

"There was no mention of in vitro fertilization during the legislative debates" regarding the Act, the judge wrote. "The Wrongful Death Act has never been interpreted to apply to situations involving the in vitro fertilization process."

O'Mara Frossard added that the law would have to be changed by the legislature, not by a judicial pronouncement.

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