Former Couple Locked in Legal Fight Over Embryos

DETROIT (CN) – A Michigan judge heard arguments Wednesday morning over the status of several frozen embryos and whether a guardian should be appointed as a former couple continues to battle over their custody.

Gloria Karungi and Ronaldlee Ejalu, who are no longer in a relationship, were never married but did have a daughter together.

That daughter suffers from sickle cell disease and Karungi believes if she could conceive another child from the embryos, the sibling’s bone marrow cells could offer a potential lifeline to her daughter.

Ejalu is required to give his consent for the release of the embryos, but has refused.

Oakland County Circuit Judge Lisa Langton said at Wednesday’s hearing that it was still unclear how guardianship is appropriate under the probate code and she said would issue an opinion about guardianship after reviewing the case documents.

The case was returned to Judge Langton when the Michigan Court of Appeals remanded the dispute for an evidentiary hearing. The state’s high court declined to intervene.

In a scathing June 4 response to a brief filed by Karungi’s lawyers, attorneys for Ejalu argue that Karungi should be sanctioned because her legal team refuses to concede that the embryos are not considered a person by the court.

The response says Karungi’s lawyers repeatedly used language that mischaracterized the embryos as viable human lives.

“Plaintiff and her counsel continue to drive a religious and political agenda unrelated to the contract dispute of the parties solely at issue on remand from the Court of Appeals,” Ejalu’s filing states.

On June 20, Judge Langton will hear arguments from the parties regarding contested property held by unmarried persons.

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