Monday 24 October 2016

Ex-fiance takes TV star Sofia to court over frozen embryos


Sofia Vergara's ex-fiancé's demands that she give him two frozen embryos they created - referring to them as "our girls" - highlights the wider legal and ethical issues surrounding frozen embryos.

Businessman Nick Loeb has sued the Modern Family star for the embryos because he longs to become a parent and doesn't want the "two lives" they created to "be destroyed or sit in a freezer until the end of time".


He said he "pushed for children" after he and Vergara got engaged in 2012, and said the couple agreed the following year to try in vitro fertilization and a surrogate to have children.

Loeb wrote in the New York Times that they signed a form stating that any embryos they created could only be brought to term if both of them agreed.

He said the form didn't specifically say what would happen to the embryos if they separated.

He is seeking to have the document voided. He and Vergara (below) split in 2014. She is now dating actor Joe Manganiello.

Loeb said Vergara's lawyer has told reporters that she wants to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely. At the Hollywood premiere of her new movie, Hot Pursuit, this week, Vergara was asked if she had anything to say about Loeb's article. "No," she replied and then walked off.

Courts have wrangled over what to do with frozen fertilized embryos since at least the early 1990s. But with laws that cover contracts between couples varying by state, consensus is still emerging and judges are reluctant to compel either a man or woman to become a parent against their will.

"If I am the judge I don't know what I would do. I certainly would put some emphasis on the contract," said author Charles Kindregan. "The question would be for me: Can I force this woman to become a mother?"

Many judges have looked to a 1992 Tennessee case between a woman in a divorcing couple who sought custody of frozen embryos, and a husband who wanted them destroyed. A court eventually ruled in his favour.

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