On November 18, 2015, in Findley v. Lee, Judge Anne-Christine Massullo of the San Francisco Superior Court ruled that a woman could not use frozen embryos after she divorced her ex-husband. This case represented the first ruling in California that addresses what happens to frozen embryos after a couple's divorce. Judge Massullo's ruling stands consistent with other "post-divorce embryo custody cases" in other jurisdictions such as New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee. However, three jurisdictions ruled in favor of women who argued that frozen embryos remained their only means to bear children.
In 2010, while still married, Mimi Lee and Stephen Findley decided to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) after Lee became diagnosed with cancer. California law requires that individuals using IVF sign a Consent and Agreement form (Consent Agreement) that sets forth advance written directives regarding the disposition of embryos. Before the IVF procedures, the couple reviewed and signed the consent agreement. The couple agreed to destroy the embryos upon a court decreed divorce. A few years later, the couple divorced and Lee still remained childless. She argued that she sought to gestate her embryos because the embryos provided her the final opportunity to bear children. Mr. Findley, asserted that the consent agreement signed in 2010 remained a binding and irrevocable contract.