When a couple breaks up, who decides if their frozen embryos have a right to live?

Nick Loeb made news recently after writing an op-ed opinion piece in the New York Times describing how Loeb filed suit in a California Court in 2014 seeking to protect two frozen embryos Loeb created with his ex-fiance, Sofia Vergara, the star of hit television show “Modern Family.”

Loeb alleges in his lawsuit that, once he was engaged to Vergara,  Vergara insisted that they use a surrogate mother to carry any children the couple would have.  The parties created two female embryos thereafter which remained frozen while the parties searched for a potential surrogate mother.  Loeb and Vergara then split up.  Loeb further alleges that he requested Vergara turn over the embryos to him with the promise that Loeb would be responsible for all parental and financial responsibilities for the children if Vergara did not wish to share custody.  Vergara refused and has purportedly stated through her attorney that she wants to keep the embryos frozen indefinitely.

Loeb argues that keeping the embryos frozen is “tantamount to killing them” and instead insists, similar to the right a woman has to bring a pregnancy to term over a man’s objection, that a man should be entitled to bring his embryos to term even if a woman objects.  According to Loeb, they signed a form stating that any embryos created could be brought to term only with both parties’ consent, despite a California law requiring the form to indicate what would happen to the embryos if the parties separated.

Although legal disputes involving frozen embryos are rare,  with scientific breakthroughs and more couples seeking less-traditional pregnancy assistance with fertility experts, it is likely that more and more issues involving this unique path to parenthood will arise in the future.

If you find yourself involved with issues concerning frozen embryos or other custody disputes, contact our office to schedule a consultation immediately.

Sofía Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé: Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live

by Nick Loeb, April 29, 2015

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/30/opinion/sofiavergaras-ex-fiance-our-frozen-embryos-have-a-right-to-live.html

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