It’s truly hard to tell who deserves more blame in this scenario: Nick Loeb, Sofia Vergara’s aspiring politician ex-boyfriend, for writing a baldly self-serving op-ed about their frozen embryos—or the New York Times, for publishing it.
To read the article on its face, Loeb—desperate to be a dad—would like to implant one of the embryos in a surrogate. But he can’t, see, because his ex, a famous actress, won’t let him use her eggs now that they’ve broken up. Weird.
In 2013, Sofía and I agreed to try to use in vitro fertilization and a surrogate to have children. We signed a form stating that any embryos created through the process could be brought to term only with both parties’ consent. The form did not specify — as California law requires — what would happen if we separated. I am asking to have it voided.
Still unclear is why the Times decided to furnish Loeb with a national platform to whine about voluntarily signing a contract that prohibits him from doing exactly what he’s trying to do now.
It’s not even a good argument! He fully admits he agreed to this ahead of time! Okay, but maybe there’s some sort of legal authority on his side? Maybe—if chemo had killed all his sperm. But it didn’t.
My lawyers have identified 10 other cases in the United States in which a parent tried to have a fertilized, frozen embryo taken to term against the wishes of an opposing parent. In eight of those cases, the parent seeking custody lost. In the other two cases, one in Pennsylvania and one inIllinois, a woman was awarded custody of fertilized embryos over the man’s objections. In both cases, the woman had undergone chemotherapy treatment and the embryos were her last chance to have a biological child; judges ruled that the woman’s interest in becoming a parent outweighed the man’s interest in not becoming a parent. In the Illinois case (now on appeal), the judge found that the form the couple signed was not the binding contract, and instead enforced a verbal promise the man made to help the woman have children.
What is wrong with this man! Does he also still ask her to get drinks every so often because they need “closure?” Did he get mad when she left a box of his stuff with the doorman instead of buzzing him up? Sure sounds like it!
See Loeb never even comes out and confirms that he would, without caveat, implant those embryos in a surrogate and go at it a single dad if he got permission today. He dances around it to be sure, but ultimately all he’s asking for is the right to force his ex-girlfriend to have kids she doesn’t want, with a man she doesn’t want to be with.
But as we began to discuss other potential surrogates, it became clear once more that parenthood was much less urgent for her than it was for me. We had been together for over four years. As I was coming on 40, I gave her an ultimatum. When she refused, we split up.
A few months later, I asked her to let me have the embryos, offering to pay for all expenses to carry our girls to term and raise them. If she did not wish to share custody, I would take on full parenting responsibilities and agree to have her declared an egg donor. She has refused. Her lawyer, Fred Silberberg, has told reporters that she wants to keep the embryos “frozen indefinitely.” In my view, keeping them frozen forever is tantamount to killing them.
Cool guy. Can’t wait for him to run (away).
[image via AP]