No easy moral resolution to Vergara-Loeb dispute over frozen embryos

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May 14, 2015

A monitor shows the microinjection of sperm into an egg cell using a microscope at a Leipzig, Germany, in vitro fertilization clinic in this July 2011 photo. Are frozen embryos human beings worthy of dignity and respect or are they property subject to contractual obligations? (CNS photo/EPA) See EMBRYOS-ETHICS May 14, 2015.

A monitor shows the microinjection of sperm into an egg cell using a microscope at a Leipzig, Germany, in vitro fertilization clinic in this July 2011 photo. Are frozen embryos human beings worthy of dignity and respect or are they property subject to contractual obligations? (CNS photo/EPA)

WASHINGTON (CNS) — Are frozen embryos human beings worthy of dignity and respect or are they property subject to contractual obligations?

That is the legal question surrounding the dispute between actress Sofia Vergara and her former fiance, businessman Nick Loeb, over two female embryos they created in 2013. Loeb, who wants to bring the pregnancies to term using a surrogate, has asked a court in Santa Monica, California, to void an agreement they both signed that the embryos could be brought to term only with the consent of both mother and father.

But from an ethical standpoint, the questions raised by the dispute may not be easily resolved.

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