CLEVELAND — An Ohio appellate court ruled against a couple that believe their frozen embryos lost in a hospital freezer malfunction should have been treated as people, not property.
Last month, Wendy Penniman’s case against University Hospitals went before the 8th District Court of Appeals. The couple is among 950 families who were impacted when a storage tank malfunction at University Hospitals destroyed 4,000 eggs and embryos in 2018. The Penniman family lost three embryos.
A three-judge panel heard oral arguments in the case where the Penniman family and their attorney Bruce Taubman asked that frozen embryos be considered living persons. Each side had 15 minutes to argue their case. It was a case of first impressions.
Attorneys for University Hospitals argued that Ohio law does not see embryos as human beings and doing so would lead down a problematic path.
If the court had ruled in Penniman's favor, it could have set a precedent around the country to determine when life begins.