A bid by a widower to gain access to his deceased wife's embryos in order to fertilize his new partner was rejected by a German court on Friday.
The Freiburg court found that the man's bid to access the 15 embryos, which are being held by a hospital in the same city, violates Germany's embryo protection law, which says that fertilized eggs cannot be passed on to third parties.
The plaintiff told the court that he wanted to use the embryos - which were created through the manual combination of his sperm and her eggs - to fertilize his new wife, whom he married in 2012.
In 2008, the plaintiff and his first wife - who had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was due to undergo chemotherapy - had asked the hospital to freeze the eggs for use after her recovery.
He added that all parties, including his first wife before her death, had consented to the decision that the embryos could be used by a third party.
"We understand that this [case] is extraordinary and the difficult and emotional situation in which the widower and his new wife find themselves," hospital spokesman Benjamic Waschow said in response to the verdict.
"But the University Hospital Freiburg has to abide by valid contracts and laws," he added.
An appeal against the verdict, which upheld a decision issued by a lower court, is not possible.