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The Emerging Embryo Issue

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With advances in technology and the ever-changing idea of what starting a family traditionally looks like, the debate over embryos has become a more common legal issue. The question of who embryos belong to once the parties decide to go their separate ways is a developing topic in courts all over the Country, including Pennsylvania.

Even celebrity news headlines are highlighting the issue, most recently with the ongoing legal battle between Sofia Vergara and ex-fiancé Nick Loeb. Before Vergara and Loeb parted, they created embryos with the intention of having children one day. They also signed an agreement that said the embryos could only be implanted if both parties agreed. In the most recent development, Loeb has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the embryos arguing that they have a right to live. Vergara wants to keep the embryos frozen.

While related litigation, and specifically the Loeb vs. Vergara dispute, is sure to take many turns in the future, one case has ruled on how to address the issue here in Pennsylvania. In Reber v. Reese, the Court said that each case must be decided using a balancing approach, where both parties’ interests will be considered in deciding who should get the embryos when a relationship ends. In that case, Wife wanted to implant the embryos and have the children, while Husband wanted to dispose of the embryos. The Court ruled in Wife’s favor, as long as she did not hold Husband responsible for the children in any way, such as for child support.

With the practice of creating embryos and other assisted reproductive technology becoming more common, we are sure to see litigation in the matter continue to develop. If you have questions about assisted reproductive technology, contact the attorneys at Petrelli Previtera, LLC to set up a consultation today.

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