Woman takes ex-husband to court in custody battle over embryos

Woman takes ex-husband to court in custody battle over embryos
Sunday, Oct 28, 2012
The New Paper
By Judith Tan

SINGAPORE - It was a fight for custody rights with a twist. The divorced couple went to court not only to settle custody of their young daughter.

Also at stake was the fate of 12 frozen embryos, formed when the couple were married to each other.

In a landmark judgment of this unusual case, the Family Court here awarded the embryos fully to the wife.

When contacted, the Law Ministry and the Attorney-General's Chambers declined to comment.

But several lawyers told The New Paper that there are no governing laws on the issue of embryos in divorce cases in Singapore, and that this was the first time they had heard of such a case.

The wife, Ms Chen (not her real name), retrieved the embryos from the fertility clinic on Oct 18and, with a special Christian service, interred and placed them in a niche.

Ms Chen told TNP that she had resisted going for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) "for a long time because of my religious beliefs".

"For years I had tried various hormonal therapies but nothing worked. IVF, for us, was the last resort. I was also under pressure to do so," she said.

The couple have a daughter, now 10, who was conceived naturally but their subsequent attempts to have another child were unsuccessful.

She blamed her long hours as a jet-setting management executive for this.

"My ex-husband thought I cared more about my career than having a baby and told his family and friends as much.

"Later, I realised that it was just to set up his excuse to leave me," she claimed.

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