Wednesday 16 August 2017

Actress Sofia Vergara sued by her frozen embryos for the right to life

Sofia Vergara. Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage
Sofia Vergara. Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage

Harriet Alexander

Her character in the US comedy show 'Modern Family' is familiar with negotiating domestic crises and rows over children.

And Sofia Vergara, having been locked in a year-long battle over custody of her fertilised eggs, is herself no stranger to family drama. But the legal saga took an extraordinary turn this week as it emerged that the actress is now being sued by her frozen embryos for the right to life.

Emma and Isabella, the names given to the embryos by Vergara's ex-partner Nick Loeb, are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which claims that they have a right to live, access to a trust fund and asks that they be raised by Mr Loeb.

The potentially landmark case has been filed in Louisiana because the state legally recognises an in vitro fertilised egg as a "juridical person" until it is implanted in the womb.

Vergara (44), the world's most highly paid television actress, was in a relationship with Mr Loeb, a 41-year-old New York businessman, for four years.

The couple underwent IVF in 2013 and Vergara's fertilised eggs have since been kept frozen in a fertility clinic in Beverly Hills.

The couple separated in May 2014 and a year later Mr Loeb sued Vergara for custody of the embryos, using pseudonyms that were later leaked.

The twist in the legal battle came on Tuesday when the new right-to-life lawsuit, which also lists James Carbonnet as the embryos' "trustee", was filed.

Vergara, who earns $1m an episode for 'Modern Family' and is now married to 'True Blood' actor Joe Manganiello, has strongly argued against Mr Loeb's wishes.

"A child needs a mother and a loving relationship with parents who don't hate each other," the Colombian-born actress has said previously. "I wouldn't want to bring kids to the world where it's already set against them. It would be so selfish."

The saga has provoked debate in America about when life starts, who should have the power to end it, and whether men should have the same rights as women over frozen embryos.

Irish Independent

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