The Sofia Vergara / Nick Loeb lawsuit over two frozen embryos they created during an IVF procedure when they were engaged in 2013 has some new twists. Vergara (known widely for her role on the hit sit-com, Modern Family) wants the embryos to remain frozen indefinitely, while Loeb (a businessman and founder of the International Production Company) wants to receive custody of the embryos. The case was filed in California and the judge was likely going to rule in favor of Vergara because Loeb refused to comply with a discovery order to disclose the name of former girlfriend who had abortions during their relationships with him.
A new lawsuit has been filed in Louisiana naming the two embryos as plaintiffs arguing that they have the right to be transferred into a uterus.
There is no request for financial award, because, the petition states, “there is no adequate amount of money that could remedy the loss of life of Emma and Isabella, two unique human beings.” Instead representatives for the embryos—which remain frozen in California—are asking the court order their immediate transfer to a uterus so that they can develop and be born. This can be accomplished, the suit argues, if a court will declare the California fertility contract signed by Loeb and Vergara void, since it didn’t include a provision concerning the fate of the embryos should the couple break up. Further they’re asking the court to terminate Vergara’s parental rights and reclassify her as an egg donor. Citing child neglect laws, the complaint claims “By leaving Emma and Isabella in a tank in a medical clinic for more than three years and refusing to consent to their development or care, Vegara has effectively abandoned and chronically neglected and Emma and Isabella.”
This case is unprecedented even in Louisiana, which has the strictest personhood law in the nation. So called “personhood laws” give embryos and fetuses the rights of a person.
Regardless of how the suit turns out, this is a cautionary tale to make sure that you decide in advance of an IVF cycle what will happen to any remaining cyropreserved embryos if your relationship splits up.