Fighting Over Eggs
Fighting Over Eggs: New Trends in Family Law and Alternative Conception Rights
Alternative conception and alternative family rights are areas of law that until recently, did not exist on the books in most states. However, there is a now an immediate demand for legislation regarding a true cornucopia of issues that have arisen in these fields.
Most recently, and most publicly, television star Sofia Vergara, and her ex-fiancé Nick Loeb have been battling over two frozen embryos – in a lawsuit not filed by either of them directly – but by a private party “on behalf of the embryos.” Yes, that’s right – someone filed a suit for the embryos, about the embryos, in a state that has no laws regarding embryos. So, what does a court or state do to address these issues? It’s a question that Arizona will have to face in the very near future, as the increase in alternative families is likely to require the court system to resolve these extremely emotional and incredibly complex matters.
In the Vergara suit, the filing party (trustee for the care trust set up for the embryos) argues that the embryos should be transferred to “a uterus” for development, because the fertility contract signed by the biological parents in the case, did not provide for a provision concerning the fate of the embryos, should the couple decide to part ways. The suit further goes on to request that the Court terminate the biological mother’s rights (Vergara in this matter) under child neglect laws since she refused to develop them and “left them in a tank” for more than three years.
Clearly, in a matter like this, there are many possible outcomes and even more arguments to be made; it appears that this case, however, is nothing more than financially motivated by the filing party, interested in having access to the trust fund that was established to care for the embryos if and when they were made viable – but the trend in the law is important to note and follow.
With the meteoric rise in alternative conception within same-sex relationships, single-parent inseminations and alternative marriages, the rights of embryos, and specifically the rights of contracting parties to those embryos is a trending topic and one we suspect will become legislative fodder in 2017.