Sofia Vergara’s Ex-Fiancé Outrages Internet, Defends Lawsuit Over Frozen Embryos

In a lengthy editorial, Nick Loeb explains why he wants ownership of the couple’s frozen embryos.

Sofia Vergara and Nick Loeb. (Photo: Uri Schanker/WireImage/Getty Images)

Apr 30, 2015· 1 MIN READ
Samantha Cowan is an associate editor for culture.

What’s the best way to keep a private matter out of public speculation? Sofia Vergara’s ex-fiancé, Nick Loeb, seems to think writing an op-ed for The New York Times is the way to go.

“I wanted to keep this private, but recently the story broke to the world,” Loeb wrote in a piece titled “Our Frozen Embryos Have a Right to Live.”

News of Loeb’s lawsuit against Vergara over ownership of two frozen embryos came to light earlier this month. In short, Vergara wants to keep the embryos frozen while Loeb wants to take them off ice, implant them in a surrogate, and fulfill his dream of becoming a father, whether Vergara wants to participate in parenting the children or not.

The couple created two embryos in 2013 through in vitro fertilization. But two years later, Vergara is engaged to actor Joe Manganiello—and Loeb wants to make sure the Modern Family star doesn’t get any big ideas about dumping their embryos just because the relationship is over.

As Loeb waxes poetic in his editorial about his desire to become a father, equating his idea of family to a Norman Rockwell painting, he insists that the embryos should be treated like life because they were created with that intention.

“When we create embryos for the purpose of life, should we not define them as life, rather than as property?” Loeb asks. While he suggests that this parenthood issue differs from abortion because it has nothing to do with Vergara’s ownership over her own body, his assertion that life begins at fertilization is a long-contested issue among pro-choice and antiabortion groups—and it’s one Vergara does not agree with.

“Vergara, who has happily moved on with her life, is content to leave the embryos frozen indefinitely as she has no desire to have children with her ex, which should be understandable given the circumstances,” her lawyer told E! in April.

While Vergara’s lawyer thinks it should be an understandable request, Loeb doesn’t think so. “Keeping them frozen forever is tantamount to killing them,” he wrote.

Multiple outlets and Twitter users have condemned the Times for providing Loeb with an outlet to shame and pressure Vergara into handing over the embryos. Loeb’s insistence on unfreezing them could be construed as reproductive coercion, a practice the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology calls “behavior intended to maintain power and control in a relationship.”

The fate of the frozen bundles of cells is yet to be determined. Both Loeb and Vergara signed a form that requires mutual agreement for the embryos to be implanted in a surrogate, but it does not specify what happens if the couple separates.