In summary, we hold that disputes involving the disposition of preembryos
produced by in vitro fertilization should be resolved, first, by looking to the
preferences of the progenitors. If their wishes cannot be ascertained, or if
there is dispute, then their prior agreement concerning disposition should be
carried out. If no prior agreement exists, then the relative interests of the
parties in using or not using the preembryos must be weighed. Ordinarily, the
party wishing to avoid procreation should prevail, assuming that the other
party has a reasonable possibility of achieving parenthood by means other
than use of the preembryos in question. If no other reasonable alternatives
exist, then the argument in favor of using the preembryos to achieve
pregnancy should be considered. However, if the party seeking control of the
preembryos intends merely to donate them to another couple, the objecting
party obviously has the greater interest and should prevail.
But the rule does not contemplate the creation of an automatic veto, and in
affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeals, we would not wish to be
interpreted as so holding.
For the reasons set out above, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is
affirmed, in the appellee’s favor. This ruling means that the Knoxville Fertility
Clinic is free to follow its normal procedure in dealing with unused preembryos,
as long as that procedure is not in conflict with this opinion.