In the divorce between Dr. Mimi Lee, 46, a concert pianist and part-time anesthesiologist, and the man she married five years ago, Stephen Findley, a wealthy investment analyst, only one issue remains.
Who has the right to the five frozen embryos they jointly created?
The court battle in San Francisco Superior Court will test whether the consent agreement signed by the two should be honored.
Lee’s egg and Findley’s sperm were used to create the five embryos at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center’s Center for Reproductive Health where the agreement was signed.
Findley contends that the agreement dictates the embryos are to be destroyed in the event of divorce, and can only go to Lee in the event of his death.
Lee says the embryos, which were created after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, represent the only way she could have a child with her own genetic material. Lee’s cancer treatments rendered her infertile.
In two similar cases won by the woman, both were cancer patients who became infertile.
“Mimi is entitled to her own genetic property, which both parties preserved anticipating Mimi’s infertility following her cancer treatment,” Lee’s attorneys have reportedly argued in court filings.
But earlier this week, Findley took the stand, claiming his wife may be doing it all for the money.
“I didn’t think, perhaps naively, that the embryos were an issue in the divorce,” Findley said in court, according to media reports. Finley said Lee then asked him during a phone conversation, “How much are those worth? Do I get $1 million for those? Do I get $2 million for those? Or for each one?”
The non-jury bench trial is scheduled to end on Thursday, with the judge given 90 days to return a decision.