There has been a lot of news about the Sofia Vergara embryo case. However, beyond the public’s desire to look into the life a celebrity, the reason a case like this so important is because it may affect laws, policies and regulations about how to handle cases similar to this one in the future. It may also help to answer questions about legal obligations in these kinds of cases.
The Sofia Vergara embryo case raises questions and sparks debate about things such as what should a judge decide if a woman or a man has undergone subsequent treatment for cancer and is therefore left incapable of producing gametes that would make it possible to be a genetic parent in the future or what if something has emerged that would question whether a person would be a fit parent, such as committing a serious crime against a child.
In one case, a judge in a divorce case made the ruling that embryos are “community property” and that awarding the embryo to the wife was “just and right and a fair and equitable decision.” Later, that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeals for the First District because it was noted that the couple’s original contract was enforceable because it demonstrated “a voluntary unchanged mutual intention of the parties regarding disposition of the embryos upon divorce.” Another case with no previously written agreement, an earlier decision to award the frozen embryos to the wife was reversed by an appeals court on the grounds that the husband had a constitutional right not to be forced to father a child.
If this may be issue later some couples sign consent forms requiring both parents to agree to any release of their embryos should they divorce, and that if they cannot agree on what to do with the frozen embryos, then they would be donated to medical research. In a Tennessee case, the court awarded embryos to a wife and directed her to implant them in her body within a reasonable time. An appellate court reversed that decision because it was determined that the original embryo consent agreement should be upheld.
Cases similar to this one also make us think about whether a person that was part of a couple should force the other person to become a biological or genetic parent against their will. If the fertilization of an embryo takes place outside of a woman’s body, then it just makes logical and legal sense that both parties would and should get a say about what happens to them. If no agreement can be made then the issue becomes tricky and often complicated and this is one cases like the one happening in the media right now are so important.
If you have a similar case or questions about how this case may affect your own, it is recommended that you contact one of our compassionate and experienced Estate lawyers at the Higgins Firm. We will look over your case and answer and questions you may have. We will also work with you to fight for the best outcome for your particular case.
Please contact us today online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.