Friday, April 24, 2015

Thank you scientists. Now we get to litigate and fight over children that aren’t even born yet and the laws are not clear on what to do but science is rapidly giving couples lots of options. A famous actress Sophia Vergara   is going through the very same problem that many couples are facing now in a battle with her ex-boyfriend over embryos they froze together.  Yes, for many now the ticking biological clock does not pressure women to have their babies. Now they freeze their eggs for a later time to raise a child. I call I convenient parenting but there is nothing convenient anymore when the couple splits apart.

Who gets to decide what happens to frozen embryos after a breakup? It is the newest type of custody battle but it is also a matter of life and death. Sophia’s ex-boyfriend Nick Loeb filed a complaint in a California   court to prevent their two frozen embryos from ever being destroyed.  He wants those kids to be born at any age with or without the mom involved. In November 2013, just 6 months before the couple broke up they used in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create embryos planning eventually to use a surrogate.  At the time both signed an agreement that the embryos should be destroyed in the event that either one or both died but now he wants them preserved at all cost.  Sophia has not agreed to that.

When you decide to have IVF with someone you are not married to there are lots of agreement papers to be signed. Most of the language in these contracts say that both of you have to agree. The reason the contracts are so detailed and specific are because it is all about life or death.  With more than 600,000 frozen embryos in the United States alone, advances in reproductive technology are outpacing the law and the courts are filling up with battles.

Another case is with Jacob Szafranski who is waiting on a ruling from the Illinois Court of Appeals after donating his sperm to create embryos with his now ex-girlfriend right after she was diagnosed with cancer. They broke up but she   still wants her only chance of having biological children.  The court ruled in her favor.  He is being forced to have a child and be a parent that he does not want to have and doesn’t want to be. Now all the ethical issues are blown up. Should you be forced to be a parent even if you don’t want to be anymore? According to one study about 4% of embryos are in limbo.  They are abandoned, or the patient died or the couple split. Usually the storage fees range from several hundred to a thousand dollars. Experts say an embryo can be viable for a decade or more. Even the happily married find themselves torn as to what to do with their unborn embryos.

A happy family decided to donate their unborn embryos to Alzheimer’s research, the disease a family member suffers from. All these situations raise complicated questions. Sophia may have the upper hand with her lawsuit with Nick.  The reality no matter how offensive considers the embryos as property.  When you sign up for IVF, the specific contracts lay out rules and terms of what happens to that property.  As the contracts say,, If they can’t agree then the embryos are considered abandoned. So, what should happen after a breakup? Who has the right to decide to keep or destroy an embryo?  Yes, it is a new era in parenting.  

No comments:

Post a Comment