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Florida residents could risk litigation over frozen embryos

Many people choose to create and freeze embryos in the hopes of someday having a child of their own. In some cases in Florida and elsewhere, however, this choice ends in a bitter legal battle with the party who contributed the other half of the genetic material needed to produce the embryos. Such is the case for "Modern Family" actress Sophia Vergara, who remains embroiled in a bitter child custody case with former partner Nick Loeb over their two frozen embryos.

The former couple created the embryos in 2013, and planned to have a child through a surrogate. When the couple parted ways, Loeb established a trust for the embryos in a state with a strong pro-life stance and sued Vergara for the right to implant the embryos in a different surrogate. Vergara had the case removed to a different court, and persuaded a judge to dismiss it based on jurisdiction matters. 

The case eventually went to federal court, but it was recently brought back to the state level. Vergara is expected to once again ask the court to reconsider the issue. As the matter moves forward, the two embryos remain stored in a West Coast clinic. 

As this high profile child custody case demonstrates, creating frozen embryos can also create a significant amount of legal drama. The best way for Florida residents to protect their interests is to draft a clear document outlining how embryos are to be handled in the event of a divorce or split between parties. That can help guide the courts in how to manage these types of disagreements, and also gives the parties a degree of security concerning how their genetic material might be used in the years to come.  

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