Actress Sofia Vergara sued by her frozen embryos for the right to life

Embryos file lawsuit

In an unusual lawsuit, Sofia Vergara is being sued by her ex-fiance to see her two frozen embryos brought to life.

New York: Her character in the US comedy show Modern Family is familiar with negotiating domestic crises and rows over children.

And Sofia Vergara, having been locked in a year-long battle over custody of her fertilised eggs, is herself no stranger to family drama. But the legal saga took an extraordinary turn this week as it emerged that the actress is now being sued by her frozen embryos for the right to life.

Emma and Isabella, the names given to the embryos by Vergara's ex-partner Nick Loeb, are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit which claims that they have a right to live, access to a trust fund and asks that they be raised by Mr Loeb.

Legal battle: Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergara.
Legal battle: Nick Loeb and Sofia Vergara. Photo: Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

The potentially landmark case has been filed in Louisiana because the state legally recognises an in vitro fertilised egg as a "juridical person" until it is implanted in the womb.

Vergara, 44, the world's most highly paid television actress, was in a relationship with Mr Loeb, a 41-year-old New York businessman, for four years.

The couple underwent IVF in 2013 and Vergara's fertilised eggs have since been kept frozen in a fertility clinic in Beverly Hills.

The couple separated in May 2014 and a year later Mr Loeb sued Vergara for custody of the embryos, using pseudonyms that were later leaked.

The twist in the legal battle came on Tuesday when the new right-to-life lawsuit, which also lists James Carbonnet as the embryos'"trustee", was filed.

Vergara, who earns $US1 million an episode for Modern Family and is now married to True Blood actor Joe Manganiello, has strongly argued against Mr Loeb's wishes.

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"A child needs a mother and a loving relationship with parents who don't hate each other," the Colombian-born actress has said previously.

"I wouldn't want to bring kids to the world where it's already set against them. It would be so selfish."

The saga has provoked debate in America about when life starts, who should have the power to end it, and whether men should have the same rights as women over frozen embryos.

Sofia Vergara and husband Joe Manganiello.
Sofia Vergara and husband Joe Manganiello. Photo: Supplied

Mr Loeb argued in a New York Times opinion piece, published in April 2015, that he should have equal rights over the two embryos, and accused his former girlfriend of wanting to keep them "sitting in a freezer until the end of time". He claimed that this would be "tantamount to killing them".

Vergara hit back and last month a judge in California upheld her request that Mr Loeb name two of his former girlfriends who had abortions more than 20 years ago. Vergara's lawyers want to prove that Mr Loeb has not always held a pro-life stance.

Mr Loeb appealed against the decision, but the Court of Appeal backed Vergara, whose legal team wants to question both women under deposition to investigate his sexual past.

He has argued that it is unfair to name the women due to the high-profile nature of the case, and warned they could face intense scrutiny and shame.

The Daily Telegraph has contacted Vergara's representatives, who are yet to comment.

Telegraph, UK