Sofia Vergara Sued for her Embryos
CNN reports that actress Sofia Vergara is being sued by her former fiancé, Nick Loeb, for custody of the couples frozen embryos. Loeb is attempting to prevent Vergara from destroying the frozen embryos. And, according to a Thursday report by Page Six, Loeb claimed that Vergara “demanded her friend and employee serve as the surrogate over his ‘objections as well as the recommendations of the parties’ doctor’.”
According to the Page Six source, “Loeb would like to keep the embryos in tact to have his own children: ‘He told Sofía he would raise the children himself, they would be very well taken care of. He wouldn’t sue her for child support. She would have no parental responsibility. She refuses to allow him to take charge of the embryos.’”
California law will control, here. No agreement was made between the couple about what would happen to any frozen eggs in the event they ended their relationship.
Ultimately, the outcome will be at the discretion of a judge.
In New Jersey, the case of J.B. v. M.B., 170 N.J. 9, 783 A.2d 707 (2001) addressed this issue. In that matter, a couple entered into an agreement which stated in part: I, J.B. (patient), and M.B. (partner) agree that all control, direction, and ownership of our tissues will be relinquished to the IVF Program under the following circumstances:
1. A dissolution of our marriage by court order, unless the court specifies who takes control and direction of the tissues.
The Court initially found the agreement to be ambiguous, but determined the ambiguity of the agreement to be irrelevant and went on to hold that IVF agreements violate New Jersey public policy. The court stated: “We also recognize that in vitro fertilization is in widespread use, and that there is a need for agreements between the participants and the clinics that perform the procedure. We believe that the better rule, and the one we adopt, is to enforce agreements entered into at the time in vitro fertilization is begun, subject to the right of either party to change his or her mind about disposition up to the point of use or destruction of any stored preembryos.”
According to DivorceSource.net, the net effect of this rule is that “regardless of any agreement signed by the parties, frozen embryos cannot be implanted unless both parties consent at the time of implantation. The court held only a slim window for the party desiring implantation, holding that ‘if there is disagreement as to disposition because one party has reconsidered his or her earlier decision, the interests of both parties must be evaluated.’ 783 A.2d at 719. But ‘ordinarily the party choosing not to become a biological parent will prevail.’”
Who has the rights to the frozen embryos? Why do you think so?
If you have similar concerns, contact BDG for legal advice with a free consult. BDG is a law firm that handles all types of family issues, both traditional and unique.