If You Sign Away Your Rights To Your Ex’s Embryos, They’re Gone, However Famous You Are
We live in a time where there are many ways for a couple struggling with infertility to get pregnant. Medical science is discovering new methods of achieving pregnancy all the time and with those incredible advances also comes a whole host of ethical and legal questions. It’s become harder to define who “owns” or has rights to frozen sperm, eggs and embryos as these are new situations that the law is only beginning to deal with.
Right now, a legal battle is being waged by the ex-fiancee of actress Sofia Vergara. Nick Loeb wants custody of the shared embryos created during their relationship so he can have a surrogate carry them and raise the children himself. He brings up some interesting points but at the end of the day, the law is simply not on his side. From his op-ed in The New York Times, Loed states that he and Vergara agreed through a contract they both signed that any embryos created would be brought to term only with both of their consent but he’s requesting to have it voided as it did not state what would happen were they to separate, as required by California law. Yikes.
Loeb goes on to explain that his lawyers have found similar cases around the country and that in a few, one party was awarded custody of the embryos despite the other party not wanting them implanted. In those cases, it was a woman left barren due to chemotherapy treatments and the embryos were her last chance to have children. Loeb’s situation hardly seems as dire.
He goes on to argue that his Catholic faith causes him to feel that the embryos should be given a chance at life and I find that curious as his Catholic faith would also decry the very method used to create the embryos to begin with. It seems awfully convenient to cite religion as part of his reasoning considering that fact. In my opinion, he’s probably making a big deal about this because of who his ex-fiancee happens to be. Now, this is splashed all over the news and he’s getting publicity, which may help him in the end.
As far as I’m concerned, he should have no claim to these embryos without Vergara’s consent. The law aside, I can’t imagine putting her in that position — to know that her babies are being raised without her or, feeling pressure to be involved in their lives even though she and their father have long since moved on. In an average case of non-famous people, I would feel the exact same way.
Not to mention, the procuring of a woman’s eggs is a far more complicated process than getting a man to produce semen. I can see from a woman’s point-of-view, even setting aside the fact that she may not have more eggs to give, that it’s invasive enough to not want to repeat if possible. It’s also incredibly expensive and likely not covered by insurance. If a woman has frozen embryos and wants a child, I can more easily understand her being allowed to use them without the father’s consent because of how hard it would be to go through it again. It seems to me that Loeb could start over relatively easily as compared to a woman requesting the same.
Loeb gives a long story in his op-ed about why he feels he is entitled to have these embryos implanted and to raise the resulting children himself and explains that the reason he and Vergara parted ways was that she wasn’t as invested as he was in having children. To that I say, move on. Meet someone else and have children with her. Why create this complicated situation and cause so much trauma to his ex-fiancee? I hope the law continues to side with Vergara and honor the original agreement because allowing him to raise these children without her consent would create a dangerous precedent going forward.